Offshore operators in Western Australia are bracing themselves for the Tropical Cyclone Christine. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has issued a category three cyclone warning for coastal areas from Wallal to Onslow, including Port Hedland, Karratha and Onslow, and extending inland to Paraburdoo, Tom Price, Newman, Jigalong and Three Rivers.
According to Bloomberg, Woodside, Chevron and Santos have evacuated personnel from its offshore facilities in the area.
The news agency has received e-mails from the three operators which confirm that Chevron has evacuated personnel from Ocean America and Atwood Osprey drilling rigs and also, non essential personnel has abandoned Chevron’s Gorgon project site, the Barrow Island.
Woodside has removed personnel from its Pluto and Karratha gas facilities, while Santos has put a halt to its Fletcher Finucane project in the Carnarvon Basin.
Destructive Wind Gusts
The Bureau of Meteorology has warned that a very destructive inner core of Severe Tropical Cyclone Christine has begun to impact the coast between Port Hedland and Whim Creek. Port Hedland is currently experiencing destructive wind gusts to 130 kilometres per hour as the system makes its closest approach to that area. Christine is expected to continue on a south southwest track and the centre is likely to cross the coast close to Whim Creek by about midnight. According to IBTIMES, affected areas should expect winds of around 200 kilometres per hour near the eye of the storm.
Particular note is made of the larger than normal radius to maximum winds, suggesting very destructive wind impacts will extend some 50 to 100km from the cyclone track at time of crossing.
The cyclone should accelerate to the southeast following landfall, following capture by a mid level trough and remain at cyclone intensity well inland intothe eastern Gascoyne and possibly northern Goldfields. Wind and rain impacts are therefore forecast to extend well inland on Tuesday and early Wednesday, the Bureau of Meteorogoly has informed.
Offshore Energy Today Staff, December 30, 2013