WORKERS LEAVE 100 US OIL PLATFORMS IN GULF OF MEXICO
Oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico was slowed Sunday (Monday, August 24, 2020 in Manila) by the approach of two storms that led companies to remove workers from more than 100 offshore platforms, David Koenig reported for the Associated Press (AP.)
The Interior Department said that based on company reports at midday, 114 platforms had been evacuated. That is 18% of the staffed platforms in the Gulf, but they account for 58% of Gulf oil production and 45% of its natural gas output. Energy companies are also moving drilling rigs used to explore for oil and gas. The Gulf accounts for less than a fifth of US oil production.
Hurricane Marco is closer to the Gulf coast, but forecasters are more concerned about Tropical Storm Laura, which is expected to reach hurricane status before slamming the coast around midweek.
A spokesman for Norway’s Equinor said Sunday that workers were taken off the company’s Titan platform, and production was stopped. Over the last few days, Exxon, Chevron, BP and Shell also began evacuating some platforms and drilling rigs. A Shell spokesman said workers will be screened for COVID-19 before returning to offshore facilities. Operators in the Gulf often evacuate offshore workers when the forecast calls for hurricanes or tropical storms. The impact on production is usually short-lived.