As Hurricane Michael barrels toward landfall Wednesday on the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 storm, it has shut down nearly 40 percent of daily crude oil output on the Gulf of Mexico. Oil producers have evacuated staff from 75 platforms since Monday. That's about one tenth of the occupied platforms in that region.
An offshore regulatory agency reports that companies have turned off daily production of about 671,000 barrels of oil and nearly 730 million cubic feet of natural gas.
But crude prices fell Wednesday after the International Monetary Fund cut its forecasts for global economic growth. Experts also note that the Gulf's production isn't as important as in the past because onshore shale fields are producing so much oil. Government data show that the two days of storm shut-ins have resulted in a loss of about 9 percent of U.S. crude production.