Record Hurricane Season Deals Worst Blow to Gulf Oil Production in a Decade

Bloomberg
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November 12, 2020

Hurricane Zeta pictured October 28, 2020, centered over the Gulf of Mexico about 145 miles (235 km) southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 155 miles (255 km) south-southwest of New Orleans, LA.

By Sheela Tobben (Bloomberg) –It’s the year of the unprecedented and the hurricane season has been no exception.

A record-breaking hurricane season shut in an OPEC-nation amount of oil during a global pandemic that decimated demand and sent crude stockpiles soaring. Between tropical storm Cristobal in early June and the latest Greek alphabet soup of tempests disrupting oil platforms in the Gulf, offshore drillers have had to shut about 41 million barrels of production, the most in government data going back to 2010.

The amount equates to about 270,000 barrels a day, or roughly the same rate of production as in OPEC member Republic of Congo. The productions shut-ins helped steer swollen U.S. crude inventories to a six-month low after the last hurricane, Zeta, swept through in the week of October 30.

Wiped Out

The record 12 storms to hit the U.S. so far this year, out of an all-time-high 29 systems formed in the Atlantic, would probably have made much more of a splash in oil prices had they not happened against the backdrop of an historic virus-driven market crash.

Now all eyes are on the prospects of a vaccine that may get life back to normal and restore global demand for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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