About 30 percent of Gulf oil production still offline because of Nate

Oct. 13 (UPI) — More than 30 percent of the oil production in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico is offline because the shut-ins from Hurricane Nate, the government said.

Nate bounced along the southern U.S. border during the weekend, making landfall twice as a Category 1 hurricane. On Monday, the government said about 92 percent of the total Gulf oil production and 77 percent of the natural gas production was offline because of the impact from Nate. Two refineries, which at a combined capacity of 587,000 barrels per day represented 6 percent of the total regional capacity, were closed down at the peak of the outage.

In its latest incident report, the U.S. Energy Department said 32.7 percent, or 571,854 barrels, of regional oil production and 20.5 percent, or 660.6 million cubic feet, of natural gas output was still offline because of Nate.

“Now that the storm has passed, facilities will perform integrity checks and begin restart,” the update from Thursday read.

In what it said was the final update on Nate, Anadarko Petroleum, one of the larger operators in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, said its status was back to pre-storm levels as of Tuesday. Meteorologists working from British energy company BP stood down earlier this week.

The latest forecast from the U.S. Energy Information Administration put total production in the Gulf of Mexico in September at 1.7 million barrels per day, an increase of 70,000 barrels per day from August.

The Gulf of Mexico accounts for about 17 percent of total U.S. crude oil production. The U.S. House of Representatives this week held hearings for legislation aimed at expanding access to oil and gas reserves in territorial waters. Advocates say about 90 percent of U.S. waters are off limits to drillers, while opponents say expanding access would hurt other industries like fishing and tourism.

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