16 August 2013, News Wires – Some oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico started to evacuate non-essential workers from offshore facilities on Thursday as a low-pressure system threatened to strengthen into a larger storm.
A tropical disturbance in the north-western Caribbean Sea had become “less organised” overnight and now has a 50% chance of becoming a cyclone over the next 48 hours, the US National Hurricane Centre said Thursday.
That was a downgrade from a 70% chance earlier. The storm has a 60% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone over the next five days, the centre said.
US independent Marathon Oil said it was evacuating non-essential personnel from its operated Ewing Bank platform, about 130 miles south of New Orleans. The platform can produce up to 9,700 barrels per day of oil and 8.2 million cubic feet per day of natural gas.
“We will continue to monitor the storm closely. Marathon Oil’s operated production has not been impacted at this time,” the company said in an update on the storm.
BP said it was evacuating non-essential workers from all four of its oil and gas platforms in the Gulf.
The UK supermajor said it had temporarily halted work on drilling rigs in the Gulf, but platforms were still operating.
“Oil and natural gas production at all BP-operated platforms remains online at this time,” the company said.
The BP-operated Destin Pipeline was also reportedly evacuating non-essential workers, with no immediate impact to gas flows, weather permitting.
Shell said in its most recent update that it was continuing to monitor the storm.
Mexico’s Pemex said it was monitoring the storm but had no plans to evacuate its installations, including its platforms in the Bay of Campeche at the southern tip of the Gulf of Mexico.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Erin formed in the far eastern Atlantic. Erin is the fifth named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season.
The storm was upgraded from a depression on Thursday morning and is currently located west-southwest of the southern Cape Verde Islands.