Oil Production Lagging in Gulf

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A slower-than-expected return to full oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, which was disrupted by storms, has become a factor in the rise of oil prices.

As of Tuesday, the U.S. Minerals Management Service reports that 23 production companies have 39 production platforms and two drilling rigs evacuated in the Gulf and not producing oil.

On Monday, the agency reported 31 production platforms and one drilling rig evacuated and not producing.

The MMS, which manages federal offshore leases in the Gulf, said Tuesday's count includes structures that are still partially evacuated and not producing.

Since Sept. 13, when Hurricane Ivan forced evacuations, 11.8 million barrels of oil have been shut in. The MMS says that's the equivalent of nearly two percent of the Gulf's annual production of 605 million barrels.

At the height of the platform evacuations, 41 percent of normal production of oil in the Gulf was blocked.