US offshore drillers have shut 1 million b/d, or 53%, of Gulf of Mexico oil production and 1.2 Bcf/d, or 45%, of natural gas output as Tropical Storm Barry heads toward Louisiana’s coast, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said Thursday.
BSEE said 191 platforms and seven non-dynamically positioned rigs have been evacuated, and 11 dynamically positioned rigs have been moved off site. The figures were based on operations reported to BSEE as of 11:30 am CDT (1630 GMT) Thursday.
The National Hurricane Center expects Barry to reach hurricane strength late Friday or early Saturday and make landfall in Louisiana. Barry could cut Gulf of Mexico crude production by 140,000-230,000 b/d in July, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics estimates.
Offshore drillers including Chevron, Anadarko, ExxonMobil and BP on Wednesday started shutting production and evacuated staff from drilling platforms. Phillips 66 is preparing to shut its 253,600 b/d Alliance refinery in Belle Chasse outside New Orleans, while other Gulf Coast refiners said they are keeping an eye on the storm.
BSEE plans to update the production data daily, as long as the storm remains a threat to Gulf Coast energy infrastructure.