The agency explained that the sharp decline in the Gulf of Mexico’s share of production in the total U.S. oil and natural gas production contributed to the reduced hurricane related risks.
According to the EIA, the offshore energy production in the Gulf of Mexico experienced relatively minor disruptions caused by tropical storms and hurricanes in recent years. The agency also the noted that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasted a below-normal hurricane season this year.
Gulf of Mexico crude oil and natural gas production
The crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico declined from 27% in 2003 to 16% last year. The natural gas production in the area dropped from 26% in 1997 to 5% in 2014, according to the EIA.
The agency estimated that short-term disruption in the Gulf of Mexico during the 2015 hurricane season would be approximately 9.7 million barrels of crude oil (3.5%) and 15.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas (2.8%) of the total oil and natural gas production in the area.
The short-term disruption is a small percentage of the total U.S. crude oil and natural gas production.
The EIA said no crude oil or natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico was shut during the 2014 hurricane season. The agency also estimated a 14% probability that production during the current hurricane season will also be unaffected.
The Hurricanes Katrina and Rita shut down almost all offshore crude oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico 10 years ago.
Energy infrastructure in other areas of the U.S.
The EIA also noted that severe weather also affects the energy infrastructures in the other areas of the United States including the Gulf Coast, which is home to almost 50% the country’s refining capacity and several natural gas processing and distribution facilities.
According to the agency, the high levels of crude oil inventories both domestically and globally could mitigate the impacts of weather-related disruptions in the supply.”
The EIA said natural gas processing capacities were added in other areas over the past years, which lessens the potential impact of storm-related processing outages.
The EIA maintains an energy disruption page and a Gulf Coast fact sheet to help analysts evaluate the potential impacts of storms on the supply of crude oil and natural gas.