1 million oil barrels a day lost in the Gulf Coast because of Hurricane Isaac image

936,500 barrels per day of refining capacity was shut down in the U.S. Gulf Coast region on Wednesday, unchanged from Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Energy Department said on Wednesday.

The amount of lost oil accounts for 12 percent of the total Gulf Coast refining capacity, the department added.

Five refineries were shut down in the Gulf Coast region and four more are operating at reduced rates, according to the U.S. Energy Department. Oil production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico dropped by more than 90 percent because of Hurricane Isaac. Offshore gulf natural gas output was curtailed by two-thirds, and refinery and port closures added to the storm-related supply disruptions.

The closures were precautionary and fortunately the U.S. Gulf Coast oil production remained largely untouched by the hurricane. Brent crude oil slipped towards $112 on Wednesday as Hurricane Isaac left and as government figures showed an unexpected rise in U.S. crude inventories.

The Gulf Coast region is the country’s top refining hub, accounting for 45 percent of total capacity or 7.8 million barrels per day. Louisiana usually processes more than 3 million barrels per day. Hurricane Isaac was downgraded Wednesday to a tropical storm but continued to bring heavy rains and damaging winds to Louisiana.