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July 15, 2019

Storm Barry cuts Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production

Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico have evacuated a number of rigs and platforms in response to Tropical Storm Barry.

By Umar Ali

Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico have evacuated a number of rigs and platforms in response to Tropical Storm Barry. The storm entered the Gulf of Mexico on 10 July, making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 1 hurricane on 13 July.

According to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), personnel from 283 production platforms and 10 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico were evacuated, representing 42.3% of the 669 manned platforms and 47.6% of the 21 rigs in the gulf.

From operator reports, the BSEE estimated that approximately 72.82% of current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico was shut in as a result of the storm, which represents about 1.4 million barrels of oil per day.

It is also estimated that approximately 61.68% of current natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico was shut in, equating to around 2,780 million cubic feet per day.

Oil prices increased significantly when Storm Barry first entered the Gulf of Mexico, with Brent futures rising by 3.39% to $66.7 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate futures rising by 3.31% to $60.19 a barrel.

Following the passing of the storm through New Orleans and its weakening from a hurricane to a tropical storm, this increase in oil price has plateaued.

City Index senior market analyst Fiona Cincotta said: “The feared tropical storm Barry which at one point was expected to become the first hurricane of this season proved to be far less damaging than expected. As normal production resumes in the Gulf of Mexico and on the onshore platforms in Louisiana, oil prices stopped rising and are treading water.”

The BSEE plans to inspect oil and gas facilities in the Gulf of Mexico after Storm Barry has passed, noting that some facilities may take longer to bring back online due to damage from flooding.

It said in a statement: “The BSEE Hurricane Response Team is activated and monitoring the operators’ activities.

“The team will continue to work with offshore operators and other state and federal agencies until operations return to normal and the storm is no longer a threat to Gulf of Mexico oil and gas activities.”

The storm has now weakened to a tropical storm and passed through the city of New Orleans. It is projected to move north towards Arkansas, with local flash flooding expected to affect coastal areas in Louisiana through Monday.

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