Tropical storm forces oil platforms, rigs to evacuate; halts quarter of Gulf oil production

The federal agency that regulates offshore oil and gas says operators on the western edge of the Gulf are evacuating platforms and rigs in the path of Tropical Storm Alex but not those involved in the spill response.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement estimates that this has halted nearly one-quarter of the Gulf of Mexico's oil production and more than 9 percent of natural gas production.

It says based on reports Tuesday morning that 28 of 634 manned production platforms and three of 51 drilling rigs have been abandoned.

It says drilling rigs and containment ships involved in the BP spill response farther east are working.

Estimated energy production from the Gulf as of March is 1.6 million barrels of oil per day and 6.4 billion cubic feet of gas.