Oil producers in the Gulf of Mexico have started evacuating platform staff ahead of storm Delta that is forecast to reach the Gulf as a Category 3 hurricane before it enters the Gulf, Reuters reports.
BP and BHP are among those evacuating employees, for now focusing on non-essential employees from their offshore platforms. BHP is going a step further tomorrow, planning to shut in the platforms. Shell and Murphy Oil are only monitoring the situation for the time being, and Occidental is taking steps to protect its facilities and workforce, according to the company.
Several storms this season have shut in production in the Gulf, starting with Cristobal in June and most recently ending with Sally. The hurricane that shut in the most oil and gas production in the Gulf, however, was Laura, which made landfall in late August.
At its peak, Laura forced the evacuation of all 16 dynamically positioned drilling rigs, 11 of the 12 positioned drilling rigs moored to the seafloor, and nearly half of the 643 offshore production platforms operating in the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico. The peak shut-in of crude oil production occurred on August 25, two days before Laura’s landfall, when 84 percent of the region’s average daily crude oil production in 2019 was shut in, the EIA said earlier this month.
So far, the shut-ins and evacuations have cost oil field operators in the Gulf of Mexico some $9 billion, according to the Reuters report, which cited data from a reinsurance company BMS Group. This compares with $75 billion in 2017 when hurricane season was particularly devastating, with just one of the three strongest hurricanes, Harvey, causing damages worth $125 billion across industries and households.
Delta is expected to enter the Gulf some time tomorrow and make landfall on the central Gulf Coast.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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