U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production is returning to near normal levels after Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle last week, data from an offshore regulator showed on Oct. 13, with oil output off 19% and natural gas production down less than 10%.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) also said in an update that only one evacuated production platform was still unoccupied, down from 89 platforms on Oct.,10. It can take several days after a storm passes to inspect platforms for damages, fully return crews and restore production after wells are shut-in ahead of a storm.
Michael entered the Gulf as a tropical storm and quickly spun into a major hurricane, producing rough seas and winds of up to 155 miles per hour (250 km/h) when it made landfall near Panama City, Florida, on Oct. 10.
The Gulf production still offline on Oct. 13 represented 330,394 barrels per day of oil production and 247 million cubic feet per day of natural gas output, BSEE reported from a survey of 17 oil and gas producers. In all, Michael cost Gulf producers about 3.27 million barrels of oil.
Offshore production in federal waters of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico accounts for 17% of total U.S. crude output and 5% of national natural gas production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
BSEE said its Oct. 13 survey of producers showed that all drilling rigs and vessels that had been evacuated or moved to safer areas of the Gulf ahead of the storm were reoccupied and back at their drilling positions.
Numerous factors, including oil production, COVID-19 and infrastructure complicate the picture.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which oversees the federal government's oil and gas leasing program, did not give a reason for the delays.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc, Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp., Hess Corp. and Murphy Oil were taking precautions, but not evacuating workers from offshore production platforms on June 2 because of Tropical Storm Cristobal.