Oil explorers and drillers including BP Plc (BP/), Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) began evacuating workers from platforms and rigs in the Gulf of Mexico as a storm intensified in the largest U.S. crude-producing region.
A low-pressure system over the central Gulf has an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours, the National Hurricane Center said on its website at 2 p.m. Miami time. The cluster of thunderstorms was moving northwest, the hurricane center said.
About 5.7 percent of oil output and 2.4 percent of natural-gas production have been shut as energy producers prepared for the storm, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Management, Regulation and Enforcement said. The Gulf accounted for one in every four barrels of U.S.-produced crude and 6.5 percent of domestic gas output in June, according to Energy Department figures.
BP expects the evacuations to continue into tomorrow, the London-based company said today in a telephone recording. BP didn’t say what, if any, impact clearing platforms such as Thunder Horse and Mad Dog of personnel will have on oil and gas output.
Patrick McGinn, an Exxon spokesman, said the Irving, Texas- based company was removing 140 workers and contractors from platforms in the expected path of the storm. Exxon shut wells that pump 11,000 barrels of crude and 60 million cubic feet of gas daily, he said in an e-mailed statement.
Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC) began shutting production from its eight Gulf platforms, The Woodlands, Texas-based company said on its website. Chevron Corp. (CVX), Apache Corp. (APA) and W&T Offshore Inc. (WTI) of Houston also began evacuating some workers. Chevron and Apache said production was unaffected.
Transocean Ltd. (RIG), Noble Corp. (NE), Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. (DO) and Nabors Ltd. were among drilling-rig and oilfield- service companies who said they have started removing employees from offshore vessels.
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