Oil companies slashed Gulf of Mexico crude oil production on Saturday by about 91 percent, or about 1.65 million barrels, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, as Hurricane Ida heads to major American offshore oil fields.
The regulator also estimated that about 84.87% of natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has stopped.
Ida is expected to reach a Category 4 hurricane before making landfall west of New Orleans. Louisiana residents have rushed to prepare for Saturday’s storm, which can bring winds of up to 140 mph (225 km / h) when it makes landfall.
According to the offshore regulator, oil and gas companies have evacuated 279 production platforms, representing 49.82% of the 560 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, and shut down about 91% of their typical offshore production.
The companies moved 11 drill ships from the location and track of the storm on Saturday.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, federal Gulf of Mexico offshore oil production accounts for 17% of the country’s crude oil production and 5% of its federal offshore dry gas production.
Andrew Lipo, president of Lipo Oil Associates in Houston, said on Saturday that gas prices in Southeast and Mid-Atlantic markets could rise by about 10 cents a gallon if New Orleans refineries suffer a direct hit from a Category 4 hurricane.