NEW ORLEANS (AP) – More than 120 Gulf of Mexico oil and gas platforms were still shut down Saturday and nearly 60 percent of the gulf’s normal daily oil production remained blocked from the market because of evacuations due to Hurricane Katrina, a federal agency said.

Following a survey of 56 energy companies, the Minerals Management Service reported that 122 of the 819 staffed platforms in the gulf were shut down, blocking 897,605 barrels – or 59.8 percent of the Gulf’s normal daily production of 1.5 million barrels.

The shutdowns also blocked 3.8 billion barrels of natural gas from market, or 38.2 percent of the gulf’s normal daily gas production of 10 billion cubic feet, the agency said.

Since Katrina first threatened the gulf on Aug. 26, 17.1 million barrels of oil and 84.2 billion cubic feet of gas have been shut in, the agency said.

Normally, the Gulf of Mexico produces 547.5 million barrels of oil and 3.65 trillion cubic feet of gas annually.

On Friday, light, sweet crude for October delivery fell 41 cents to settle at $64.08, after reaching as high as $65.35 and as low as $63.55 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Nymex crude is more than $6 off its peak of $70.85 a barrel reached briefly on Aug. 30 but is still almost 50 percent higher than a year ago.

On Nymex, October natural gas fell 8.4 cents to close at $11.263 per million British thermal units.

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