Some oil companies operating offshore facilities in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico have begun evacuation of personnel ahead of a potential tropical storm approaching.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center has issued a warning in which it says that an area of low pressure which has moved offshore the Yucatan peninsula has a chance of becoming a tropical cyclone.
“Interests in the central and western Gulf of Mexico should monitor the progress of the system through the weekend,” National Hurricane Center has advised, adding that there is a 50 per cent chance of the system developing into a tropical cyclone within the next two days.
It also added that there is a higher chance, 60 per cent, the system could become a tropical cyclone during the next five days.
Marathon Oil Corporation and Destin Pipeline Co have been reported to have withdrawn non essential workers from some of its Gulf of Mexico facilities.
According to Reuters, non-essential personnel has left the Marathon-operated Ewing Bank platform located 130 miles south of New Orleans. The company’s spokesperson has told the news agency that production from the platform remains unaffected. The Ewing Bank serves as a production hub platform. Marathon Oil holds an average 65 percent working interest in Ewing Bank (66.67 percent for Lobster and Oyster, and 62.5 percent for Arnold) and serves as operator.
In a statement on its website BP said it has begun evacuating non-essential personnel from BP’s four production platforms, while BP-contracted drilling rigs have temporarily stopped operations and are get out of the storm’s way if needed. Oil and natural gas production at all BP-operated platforms remains online.
“The evacuation of non-essential personnel and preparation of the rigs is a precautionary measure to enable us to respond quickly if weather conditions change rapidly,” BP said.
Destin Pipelines Company said that pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico operated by BP Pipelines were in Phase 2 of their Severe Weather Contingency Plan, with all non-essential personnel evacuated.
“Destin will continue to accept flow as long as weather conditions permit,” said the company in a notice on its website.