HOUSTON (Reuters) - About 71 percent of U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil production is offline ahead of Tropical Storm Nate, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said on Friday.
Nate is forecast to enter the Gulf and strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall late Saturday in Louisiana, near several major refineries.
Oil companies have evacuated staff from Gulf platforms and curtailed output ahead of the storm, with production equaling 1.24 million barrels of crude per day already offline, according to BSEE.
About 53.2 percent of Gulf natural gas production remains offline, BSEE said.
(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by James Dalgleish)