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Offshore oil production off the U.S. Gulf Coast remains shut in by 24% in the wake of Tropical Storm Cristobal, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said on Wednesday. About 23% of natural gas remains shut in.
For oil production, this equates to more than 430,000 barrels per day. For natural gas, 619 million cubic feet per day remains offline.
Those figures are down from 31% for crude oil and 33% for natural gas that were shut in on Tuesday.
In total, 61 production platforms of the 643 manned platforms are still evacuated in the Gulf of Mexico. All dynamically positioned rigs have returned to their working locations. Occidental Petroleum, BP, and Shell were some of the companies who evacuated employees ahead of the storm.
Facilities will be inspected after the storm passes, and undamaged facilities will be brought back online “immediately” BSEE said on Wednesday.
The outages come as U.S. crude oil stockpiles are now at a record high, according to the latest EIA figures published on Wednesday, and U.S. oil exports have fallen to levels not seen since November. In addition, the U.S. is seeing increased amounts of oil coming in from Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, refineries are consuming crude oil at a rate that is significantly below normal.
The Gulf of Mexico accounts for some 17 percent of U.S. oil production. In 2018, hurricane Michael shut in production of more than 700,000 bpd for a few days. In 2017, total oil industry—production and refining—hit US$200 billion, the highest storm bill in history.
The BSEE provides updates on a daily basis until the platforms are back online and the danger of the storm has passed.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.