Oil workers evacuated as storm heads for US rigs

  • Sep 20, 2020
  • Arab News

NEW YORK: Royal Dutch Shell halted some oil production and began evacuating workers from a US Gulf of Mexico platform, the company said, as a new tropical storm flared.

Beta, the 23rd-named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, formed in the Bay of Campeche and was forecast to strengthen steadily and become a hurricane by Sunday off the Texas coast, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Shell said it was removing non-essential employees from its Perdido platform in the western Gulf of Mexico and securing nearby drilling rigs. Occidental Petroleum Corp, which operates in the same area, also began implementing storm procedures, it said.

Chevron Corp. has not newly evacuated staff and there was no impact from storm Beta on production at its operated facilities, the company said. Chevron owns a stake in Shell’s Perdido.

The NHC issued a hurricane watch for most of the Texas coast and warned of heavy rains along the northwest Gulf coast through Wednesday.

Beta could become the third Gulf of Mexico hurricane in less than a month, behind Laura and Sally. Hurricane Sally swept across the central and eastern Gulf, slamming into Alabama on Wednesday with winds of up to 105 mph (170 kph). Laura entered on Aug. 25 and hit southwest Louisiana with 150 mph winds.

There were 37 platforms on Friday that remained unstaffed, with oil output cut by 396,554 barrels per day and natural gas by 435 million cubic feet per day in the wake of Hurricane Sally.

The US Gulf of Mexico offshore oil production accounts for 17 percent of US crude oil production and 5 percent of US natural gas production.