237 platforms, 23 drilling rigs evacuated for Lee

September 3, 2011 - 2:30 PM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal agency says 237 oil and gas production platforms and 23 drilling rigs have now been evacuated in the Gulf of Mexico because of Tropical Storm Lee.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement says that means about 38 percent of the total 617 manned platforms and about 33 percent of the 70 drilling rigs operating in the Gulf had been evacuated as of Saturday afternoon.

The agency estimates that estimated about 60 percent of the current oil production in the Gulf and almost 55 percent of the natural gas production has been shut in.

Energy companies say they can restart production quickly if rigs are not damaged by the storm.