Money & The Economy

Hurricane Michael Set To Wreak Havoc On Oil And Gas Production In The Gulf


by Tim Pearce

Roughly 40 percent of oil production and 30 percent of natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico shut down due to Hurricane Michael as of Tuesday morning, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

Michael is expected to slam the northeastern coast of Florida Wednesday as a Category 3 or Category 4 storm before tracing a path up to Virginia. Michael will bring heavy winds — as high as 140 miles per hour if it becomes a Category 4 — and life-threatening storm surge along the coast.

The Gulf Coast is a major source of energy production in the U.S., housing 17 percent of total U.S. crude oil production and 5 percent of natural gas production. Nearly half of the United States oil refining capacity is located on the Gulf Coast, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Gulf oil and natural gas rigs, plants and refineries in the path of the storm have been locking down and preparing for the storm. All will be inspected for damage after the storm passes. Twenty-seven companies have reported to BSEE so far on the condition of their infrastructure, notifying the agency what will be offline.

Florida and Alabama have declared states of emergency ahead of Michael’s impact. The storm is expected to leave both states with long-lasting damage.

“Hurricane Michael is forecast to be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades,” Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott told reporters Monday. “Remember, this storm could grow stronger and be a Category 3 hitting our state. This storm will be life-threatening and extremely dangerous.”

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