HOUSTON (Reuters) - U.S. Gulf of Mexico producers have cut daily oil production by roughly 42 percent and natural gas output by nearly 32 percent due to Hurricane Michael, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said on Wednesday, citing reports from 30 companies.
The cuts represent 718,877 barrels per day of oil production and 812 million cubic feet per day of natural gas output, BSEE said.
Michael made landfall on Wednesday along the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 hurricane with winds measuring at 155 miles per hour (249 kph). The storm is expected to be the worst ever recorded in the region.
Major producers including BP Plc, BHP Billiton, Exxon Mobil Corp and Anadarko Petroleum Corp were among the firms to evacuate staff from their Gulf of Mexico operations this week ahead of the storm. As of Wednesday, crews had been removed from 89 production platforms across the Gulf of Mexico, BSEE said.
Benchmark U.S. oil prices were down more than 2 percent to roughly $73.20 per barrel on Wednesday with equity markets, even as traders eyed cuts from Hurricane Michael and shrinking supply from Iran due to U.S. sanctions.
Wednesday’s shut-ins were the largest since Hurricane Nate, which hit the Gulf Coast a year ago. That storm curtailed more than 90 percent of oil production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, more than 1.6 million barrels per day of crude.
Reporting by Liz Hampton in Houston; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Matthew Lewis