Offshore oil drillers have begun shutting off wells in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico following a collapse in crude prices due to the coronavirus pandemic, and some executives worry that the region’s production may take years to fully recover.

A historic decline in energy demand that has led refiners to make less fuel and caused storage tanks to fill up with crude is pushing gulf producers to shutter high-cost wells in both shallow and deep federal waters. The offshore oil sector accounted for about 15% of the nation’s production,…

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