Apache, Woodside Petroluem Halt Australian Oil Fields as Cyclone Nears
Apache Corp. and Woodside Petroleum Ltd. halted oil fields off Western Australia because of a tropical low system forecast to become a cyclone. Inbound iron ore shipments to Port Hedland are also suspended.
Woodside stopped production at its Vincent and Cossack oil fields, Laura Hammer, a spokeswoman, said from Perth today. Apache has halted its Stag and Legendre fields, according to David Parker, a Perth-based company spokesman.
The tropical low is forecast to pass over Broome later today with heavy rains and strong winds, the Bureau of Meteorology said in an update on its website. The low pressure system is likely to intensify into a tropical cyclone off the Pilbara coast tomorrow, reaching Category three on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, the bureau said.
Apache has also evacuated all non-essential staff from its Varanus Island gas-processing plant because of the storm, Parker said in a telephone interview. Varanus Island continues to operate, he said.
Inbound iron-ore shipments to Port Hedland, the world’s largest bulk export terminal, have been suspended, BHP Billiton Ltd. spokeswoman Kelly Quirke said by phone.
Vessels currently in the harbor may depart once they are loaded, while ships moored outside of Port Hedland have been advised to lift anchor and depart from the area today, she said.
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