Tropic Storm Debby shuts in oil and gas production

Offshore oil and natural gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico kept close watch on Tropical Storm Debby Sunday as they continued evacauting people from facilities and shutting down production.

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said as of 11:30 am Sunday based on operators reports that about 22.7 percent of the current daily oil production in the Gulf of Mexico was shut-in.

It also estimated that about 22.9 percent of the current daily natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico had been shut-in.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Gulf of Mexico oil production accounts for 29 percent of total U.S. crude oil production and offshore natural gas production in the Gulf accounts for 12 percent of total U.S. production.

Also, more than 40 percent of domestic petroleum refining capacity is located along the Gulf coast, as well as almost 30 percent of total U.S. natural gas processing plant capacity.

Sunday morning, BP said helicopters were continuing to evacuate offshore personnel as weather conditions permitted. It also said it expected its oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico would be completely shut in by midday Sunday.