New Orleans, Louisiana – Almost all of the oil and gas offshore operations operating in the Gulf of Mexico have been evacuated and shut down due to Hurricane Gustav, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service.

Based on reports submitted as of late yesterday morning, personnel have been evacuated from a total of 632 production platforms, equivalent to 88.2 per cent of the 717 manned platforms in the Gulf. These structures, where oil and natural gas are produced, remain in the same location throughout a project’s duration, unlike drilling rigs which typically move from location to location.

Personnel from 110 rigs have also been evacuated, equivalent to 90.9 per cent of the 121 rigs currently operating in the Gulf.

The Department estimates that close to 100 per cent of the Gulf’s oil production, about 1.3 million barrels of oil per day, has been shut in, along with 95.4 per cent of the 7.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas produced daily. As part of the evacuation process, safety valves are closed below the surface of the ocean to prevent the release of oil or gas. This is standard procedure conducted by the industry for safety and environmental reasons.

The facilities will be inspected after the hurricane has completely passed, and once all standard checks have been completed, production from undamaged facilities will be brought online immediately.

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