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Oil activity begins to return to Gulf of Mexico after hurricane evacuations

A boater passes the Royal Dutch Shell Plc Olympus tension leg platform (TLP) at dawn as it sets sail from Kiewit Offshore Services in Ingleside, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, July 13, 2013. Olympus, Shell's biggest constructed tension leg platform, started the ten day, 425-mile voyage to Mars B Field in the Gulf of Mexico on July 13. Photographer: Eddie Seal/Bloomberg
A boater passes the Royal Dutch Shell Plc Olympus tension leg platform (TLP) at dawn as it sets sail from Kiewit Offshore Services in Ingleside, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, July 13, 2013. Olympus, Shell's biggest constructed tension leg platform, started the ten day, 425-mile voyage to Mars B Field in the Gulf of Mexico on July 13. Photographer: Eddie Seal/Bloomberg

Oil and gas activity is beginning to return to the Gulf of Mexico this week after Hurricane Barry swept through the region and up into Louisiana.

At its peak, energy companies had shut down nearly 75 percent of the Gulf’s oil production – almost 1.5 million barrels of crude per day taken offline – as well as more than 60 percent of the natural gas output, according to the federal government.

Companies evacuated an estimated 283 oil and gas platforms in the Gulf, roughly 42 percent of all the platforms in the Gulf, according to the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

The bureau said its teams will continue to monitor offshore oil and gas operators as they re-board platforms and rigs in the Gulf and assess for potential damage. They will work with offshore operators and other state and federal agencies until operations return to normal in the federal waters.

The Gulf’s leading producers – BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron – said last week that they evacuated much of their offshore personnel and shut down oil and gas output at many of their sites in preparation of the storm. Other large Gulf producers like The Woodlands-based Anadarko Petroleum and Australia’s BHP evacuated multiple platforms as well.

Shutting-in oil and gas production with underwater safety valves in wells is a standard procedure conducted for safety and environmental reasons.

The full version of this article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.

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