Storm fears shut down Gulf drilling

Energy companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico are bracing for Tropical Storm Karen.

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, said that 32.7 percent of the Gulf’s platforms and 37.5 percent of its rigs were evacuated as of Friday afternoon. The Gulf produces about 25 percent of the nation’s energy.

The evacuation and accompanying production suspension left more than 693,000 barrels of oil and 1.5 million cubic feet of natural gas shut in. That’s nearly 50 percent of the daily oil production from the Gulf and nearly 40 percent of the natural gas.