HOUSTON (Reuters) – A strengthening Hurricane Delta dealt the greatest blow to U.S. offshore Gulf of Mexico production in 15 years, halting most of the region’s oil and nearly two-thirds of its natural gas output.
An already large and powerful storm, Delta could intensify further on Friday as it churns through the Gulf’s prime oil-producing area. Its winds reached 120 miles per hour (195 kmh), according to the National Hurricane Center.
Delta has shut 1.67 million barrels per day, or 92% of the Gulf’s oil output, the most since 2005 when Hurricane Katrina destroyed more than 100 offshore platforms and hobbled output for months.
Oil prices eased in early trading in Asia on Friday, but were on track for gains of about 10% for the week, boosted by outages in the Gulf of Mexico and a labor dispute in the North Sea. The two combined have removed 3.17 million barrels