October 14, 2018 / 9:50 PM / a month ago

U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil and gas output increasing after hurricane

FILE PHOTO: An oil and gas drilling platform stands offshore in the Gulf of Mexico in Dauphin Island, Alabama, U.S., October 5, 2013. REUTERS/Steve Nesius/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production is returning to near normal levels following Hurricane Michael, data from an offshore regulator showed on Sunday, with oil output off 15.8 percent and natural gas production down less than 10 percent.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) also said in a midday update on Sunday that all oil and gas operators have returned to their production platforms. It can take several days after a storm passes to inspect platforms for damages, fully return crews and restore production after wells are shut-in ahead of a storm.

Michael entered the Gulf as a tropical storm and quickly spun into a major hurricane, producing rough seas and winds of up to 155 miles per hour (250 kph) when it made landfall as a Category 4 storm near Panama City, Florida, on Wednesday.

The Gulf production still offline on Saturday morning represented 268,824 barrels per day of oil production and 227 million cubic feet per day of natural gas output, BSEE reported from a survey of 17 oil and gas producers. In all, Michael cost Gulf producers about 3.27 million barrels of oil this week.

Offshore production in federal waters of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico accounts for 17 percent of total U.S. crude output and 5 percent of national natural gas production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Sandra Maler

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