British Petroleum repair teams have started work on the company's Gulf of Mexico oil rig that was damaged during 145 miles per hour hurricane winds last week. Meanwhile, the disruption has pushed oil prices higher.

BP said that crews placed aboard the $1 billion Thunder Horse platform in the Gulf of Mexico have already restored partial power, and have begun pumping operations to restore the facility to a normal marine configuration.

The crews have also retrieved the platform’s data recorders, which will be used in the investigation into the cause of the stability imbalance that saw the platform list to port at an estimated 20 to 30 degrees.

Repairs were initiated after the BP-operated facility received a safety evaluation that included reviews by BP staff and the US Coast Guard’s Federal On-Scene Commander. Fortunately for BP and its minority partner Exxon, the inspection determined that there was no evidence of damage to the platform’s hull.

BP forecasts production from the yet to be operational Thunder Horse facility to reach 250,000 barrels of oil a day and 200 million cubic feet of gas by 2007. However, in the short term, the setback caused by hurricane Dennis in conjunction with concerns of more storms to come have pushed oil futures prices up to the dizzying heights of $60 a barrel.