Thirty million barrels of Gulf oil lost to Ida, and counting

Lucia Kassai September 23, 2021

(Bloomberg) --Almost four weeks after Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana, Gulf of Mexico oil producers are far from calling it over.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said that 31 platforms remain shut with a loss of 294,414 barrels of oil on Thursday. Overall the storm that made landfall at the end of August has wiped out 30.1 million barrels, making Ida the most destructive to oil operators in 13 years.

The loss in production has contributed to rapidly tightening the oil market. U.S. oil inventories are the lowest since 2018, while stockpiles at a key hub in Europe remain below average levels for this time of year. Global crude benchmarks have climbed steadily this month, with Brent futures reaching the highest price in almost three years.

BSEE will stop reporting lost production because Ida “is no longer a threat to Gulf of Mexico oil and gas activities,” it said in a statement. But production isn’t expected to fully recover until next year.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, one of the largest producers in the Gulf of Mexico, said that while one of its platforms in the Mars corridor will resume service in the next quarter, two others will only be able to restart in the first quarter of 2022. The project produced a combined 185,000 barrels of oil daily in June, according to data from Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources compiled by Bloomberg.

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