Bad weather triggers oil production cut

About 46 percent of the Gulf of Mexico's

daily oil production was shut off today (Sunday) even though a

short-lived tropical depression that caused platform evacuations

had long dissipated.

The federal Minerals Management Service says personnel had been

evacuated from 25 of the 834 staffed production platforms in the

Gulf, while two of the 89 drilling rigs were unstaffed.

The agency estimated that, based on petroleum company reports,

about 595,000 barrels of daily oil production - just under 46

percent of the usual total - had been closed off as a precaution.

The depression, which developed in the Gulf of Mexico after

bringing heavy rain to the South, dissolved late Friday, although

the remnants continued to produce showers over the weekend. The

platforms and rigs had been evacuated as a precaution.