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Gulf of Mexico oil, gas supply returning as producers resume operations

Offshore oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico continues to improve after Hurricane Nate forced the evacuation of more than 300 platforms.

In a report released Oct. 11, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, or BSEE, estimated that less than 0.7 Bcf/d of natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico is still shut-in, down from a peak of 2.5 Bcf/d reported offline Oct. 8. The amount of production now idled is equal to a little more than 20% of the region's gas-producing capacity.

In addition, the BSEE estimates that slightly more than 571,000 barrels of oil per day, or more than 32% of the oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, remains offline. The amount of oil production shut-in for the storm peaked Oct. 8 at 1.62 million barrels per day.

Personnel remain evacuated from 36 production platforms, down from a peak of more than 300 on Oct. 7. The current evacuations represent less than 5% of the 737 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

In addition, one non-dynamically positioned rig, equivalent to 5% of the region's total, is still evacuated.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Gulf of Mexico federal offshore region accounts for about 5% of total U.S. dry gas production and about 17% of total U.S. crude oil production. The Gulf Coast also accounts for more than 45% of total U.S. petroleum refining capacity and 51% of total U.S. natural gas processing plant capacity.

Hurricane Nate made landfall over Mississippi late Oct. 7 as a Category 1 hurricane. According to an Oct. 8 report from the U.S. Department of Energy, the storm knocked out power to more than 111,000 electric customers throughout the Gulf Coast region and shut two refineries with a combined capacity of 587,000 barrels of oil per day.