Gulf Production Stops as Ida Nears

8 November 2009 (Last Updated November 8th, 2009 18:30)

A number of oil and gas companies operating in the central Gulf of Mexico are shutting down production as Hurricane Ida leaves behind a trail of destruction in El Salvador and heads for the US Gulf Coast. Workers are being evacuated as the 60mph-strong category-2 storm, which has already

A number of oil and gas companies operating in the central Gulf of Mexico are shutting down production as Hurricane Ida leaves behind a trail of destruction in El Salvador and heads for the US Gulf Coast.

Workers are being evacuated as the 60mph-strong category-2 storm, which has already killed 124 and is expected to reach the Northern Gulf coast on Monday night (US time), heads towards the nation's largest oil field.

Louisiana's Offshore Oil Port has stopped unloading ships – it is predicted the hurricane, which may ease, will hit between the state and Florida.

The region produces a quarter of all US oil and 15% of its natural gas, and 40% of its refining capacity exists there.

News of the hurricane sent oil prices to more than $78 a barrel today.