The damage caused by Hurricane Ida to U.S. offshore energy production makes it one of the costliest since two back-to-back storms in 2005 curtailed production for months, according to the latest historical data and records.
Ida’s 150 mph winds disrupted most offshore oil and gas production for more than a week and damaged platforms and onshore support facilities. About 79% of the region’s offshore oil production remains shut in and 79 production platforms are idled after the storm made landfall on August 29.
Some 17.5 million barrels of oil have been lost to the market to date, and shutdowns are expected to continue for weeks. Ida could reduce total U.S. production by as much as 30 million barrels this year, according to energy analysts.
U.S. wells in the Gulf of Mexico produce about 1.8 million barrels of oil a day, 16% of the U.S. daily total.
“There could be volumes that are out of service for a considerable time,” said Facts Global Energy (FGE) consultant Krista Kuhl. “It’s too early to tell.”
The losses are reducing U.S. exports at a time when oil prices are trading around $70 per barrel due to continued cuts by the OPEC group of producing countries and market expectations about demand.
At least 78% of oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico was out of service on Tuesday, nine days after Ida hit the Gulf Coast, causing wind and water damage to platforms and refineries, according to government data.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 remain the worst blow to Gulf Coast energy facilities. The back-to-back storms caused production losses that lasted for months, removing about 162 million barrels of oil in three months, according to the FGE.
Production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico that year fell 12.6% to 1.28 million barrels per day (bpd) from the previous year, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. Total U.S. oil production fell 4.7%, according to EIA data.
Restoring production after Ida will depend on the time needed to repair a key offshore oil and gas transfer facility. Royal Dutch Shell said Monday it was still assessing damage to its West Delta-143 offshore platform, which transfers about 200,000 barrels of oil and gas a day from three offshore oil fields.
A cluster of storms in the south-central Gulf of Mexico is expected to move northeastward. The storms have a 30% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next two days, the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday.