UPDATE: US Gulf of Mexico Operators Restore All But 16% Of Region’s Crude Production

About 16% of US offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico remains offline after Hurricane Laura caused mass evacuations more than a week ago.


Hurricane Laura made landfall last week near Cameron, Louisiana, 27 August, as a Category 4 hurricane with wind speeds of 150 mph—making it the strongest to ever hit the state. The storm spent days moving through the US Gulf of Mexico where it forced operators to shut in an estimated 1.55 million B/D, almost 85% of the region’s total.

But most of that offline production is now flowing again, according to data from the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). The regulator said on 3 September that only about 16%, or 301,000 B/D, remains shut-in per the regulator’s survey of 31 offshore oil and gas operators. About 15.5% of Gulf gas production remains shut-in compared to 61% prior to the storm’s arrival.

Nearly a week after the storm has passed 51 production platforms remained evacuated. This is down from a peak of 299 platform evacuations. Chevron said at least one of those still-evacuated platforms belongs to it but that it has redeployed all essential personnel to its other five platforms.

All 16 of the region’s dynamically positioned drilling rigs had moved off location but have since returned to their original locations. Meanwhile, one nondynamically positioned rig remains evacuated while the other 11 rigs of this type are once again working. BSEE did not specify if the evacuated rig is a jackup or moored rig.

Based data from the US Energy Information Agency, the widespread shut in of Gulf production led US total production to drop below 10 million B/D for the first time since 2018.

Earlier this week, Enbridge said it was hoping to restart operations on a subsea gas pipeline that went undamaged during the storm but suffered a loss of communications.

The US Energy Department said one of its Strategic Petroleum Reserve sites in West Hackberry, Louisiana, suffered severe surface damage and lost power, but noted there were no risks of spills from the underground caverns used for storage.