Sunday, June 2, 2013

Hurricanes Have Less Affect On U.S. Oil Production Than In Past

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana -- Storm disruptions to oil and natural gas production in the U.S. portion of the Gulf of Mexico and along the Gulf Coast have declined in recent years because of regional shifts in where production takes place, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

There are now greater levels of production taking place at inland basins such as the Bakken formation in North Dakota, which are generally less affected by storms.  The Gulf of Mexico's share of U.S. crude oil production has declined from 26% in 2007-11 to just 19% last year.

The EIA cautions that, when it comes to oil and natural gas production, the severity of any disruption still largely depends on both the strength and location of the storms. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center forecasts a 70% likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher) during the 2013 Hurricane Season, of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).

These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

Image: NASA satellite image of Hurricane Sandy.