Sept. 04–The energy sector is hunkering down and planning to ride out Tropical Storm Gordon rather than shut down operations and abandon deepwater platforms.
The federal government estimates that 9 percent of oil and gas production is temporarily shut down in the Gulf of Mexico. That includes evacuating some workers from 54 of the nearly 700 manned platforms in the Gulf.
Out of the top Big Oil players operating in the Gulf, only Exxon Mobil and Chevron have shuttered production and evacuated non-essential personnel at any major platforms, and they’ve only opted to do so at one deepwater site each.
Exxon Mobil said it performed a controlled shutdown of its 35-year-old Lena platform south of New Orleans and evacuated personnel. Chevron said it shut in production at its 20-year-old Petronius platform south of Alabama and evacuated some workers. However, the Texas and California companies are keeping the oil and gas flowing everywhere else in the Gulf and continuing to monitor the situation.
Also, Exxon Mobil evacuated the offshore personnel at its shallow water facilities in the Mobile Bay.
“Production from other Chevron-operated assets in the Gulf remains at normal levels,” spokeswoman Veronica Flores-Paniagua said Tuesday. “Chevron will continue to closely monitor the storm and remains focused on the safety of our workforce, the integrity of our facilities and the protection of the environment.”
The tropical storm, which could still become a hurricane, is moving quickly through the Gulf and is expected to make landfall overnight near the Louisiana-Mississippi border.
Overall, companies like Royal Dutch Shell and BP are mostly securing their equipment on deepwater platforms and choosing to let the storm pass while maintaining operations.
“We have taken the necessary steps to secure our assets and ensure our people are safe,” said Shell spokeswoman Kim Windon. “Shell continues to produce from its deepwater Gulf of Mexico assets and all rigs remain operational.”
BP reiterated the same message: “At this time, normal operations continue at all BP-operated offshore production facilities. We remain prepared to respond as conditions warrant and as part of BP’s year-round efforts to plan, train and prepare for the Atlantic hurricane season.”
Gordon is just the second named storm to disrupt oil and gas operations in the Gulf this year. The season’s first named storm, Subtropical Storm Alberto, moved up the eastern Gulf in late May, triggering some partial evacuations in the region.
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