HOUSTON (Reuters) - Hurricane Nate had shut in 92 percent of oil output and 77 percent of natural gas production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico as of Saturday afternoon, according to the latest U.S. government estimate.
The storm, which is expected to make landfall late Saturday on the central U.S. Gulf Coast as a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, has halted offshore production amounting to 1.61 million barrels per day of oil and 2.48 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said on Saturday.
Nate was 105 miles (170 km) south of the mouth of the Mississippi River on Saturday afternoon and moving at a rapid 25 mph, the National Hurricane Centre said. Its track through the central Gulf of Mexico has hurt energy production far more than Hurricane Harvey did about five weeks ago.
Harvey’s track along the Texas coast and the heavy rains it brought shut refineries that provide nearly 25 percent of the U.S. capacity. At least one of those refineries has yet to return to full production.
The Gulf of Mexico is home to about 17 percent of daily U.S. crude output and 5 percent of natural gas output, according to the U.S. government estimates. Oil company workers have been evacuated from 301 platforms and 13 rigs as of Saturday, the BSEE said.
Reporting by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Matthew Lewis