Bad weather triggers oil production cut

Published 3:33 pm Thursday, September 20, 2007

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Just over a quarter of the Gulf of Mexico’s daily oil production had been closed off Thursday as forecasters kept an eye on an area of disturbed weather that could develop into a tropical depression.

The complicated weather system, which extended into the Gulf of Mexico, brought heavy rain to Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. But forecasters said it was unclear if the system would develop into a tropical depression or a tropical storm.

The federal Minerals Management Service said that personnel had been evacuated from five of the 834 staffed production platforms in the Gulf, while three of the 89 drilling rigs had been evacauted.

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The agency estimated that, based on petroleum company reports, about 360,000 barrels of daily oil production — just under 28 percent of the usual total — had been closed off as a precaution, along with 1.28 million cubic feet of daily natural gas production, just under 17 percent of the typical total.