Hurricanes threatening the U.S. Gulf of Mexico will disrupt production by about 4.5 million barrels of crude oil and 9.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas this season, according to median government estimates released this month.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts a 40 percent chance that storm-related disruptions of offshore oil and gas production will be worse than last year. During the busy 2011 hurricane season, 5.5 million barrels of crude oil and 14.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas were shut in.
The EIA conducts a hurricane season simulation to forecast oil and natural gas outages in the Gulf of Mexico. The simulation is based on a storm projections released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in May.
The NOAA forecasts between nine and 15 named storms will occur in the Atlantic Basin during the 2012 hurricane season, which started this month and lasts through November. Of those, between four and eight will be hurricanes and between one and three will be categorized as “intense.”
The forecast puts the 2012 season within the normal historic range.
The 2011 hurricane season was above average, bringing 19 named storms into the Atlantic Basin region, seven of them hurricanes and four considered intense. But the impact on the Gulf of Mexico was in the normal range, with four tropical storms and two moderate hurricanes, according to the EIA. Just two storms impacted offshore energy production.