BP has begun evacuating workers from three platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, shuttering production as tropical storm Cristobal approaches the area before it makes landfall in Louisiana during the weekend.
Reuters reports the platforms that are being evacuated are Thunder Horse, Atlantis, and Na Kika. Thunder Horse ahs production capacity of some 250,000 bpd of crude. Atlantis has a capacity of 200,000 bpd, and Na Kika produces about 110,000 bpd.
BP is not the only company evacuating workers. Occidental Petroleum has also started to reduce the workforce on its platforms in the central Gulf of Mexico, leaving only essential personnel. However, Oxy is not cutting production.
Other oil companies with a presence in the Gulf, according to Reuters, are only monitoring the progress of the tropical storm but have not yet started responding to it. Refineries along the Gulf Coast are also bracing up for Cristobal, Forbes’ Gaurav Sharma reports. Texas and Louisiana refiners, along with port authorities in these two states, are on standby and ready to begin implementing hurricane protocols, expecting the worst on Sunday.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Cristobal will weaken to a tropical depression in the middle of this week before strengthening to a storm again around Friday and continuing to strengthen on Saturday. Early next week, it could make landfall in Louisiana, according to the forecast, crossing oil-producing parts of the Gulf of Mexico.
However strong Cristobal turns out when it passes through oil-producing areas, it will likely do less damage this year than hurricanes have done in previous years because there are fewer drilling rigs in the Gulf, thanks to the cuts in new oil drilling amid the oil price crisis. According to the latest available data from Baker Hughes, the oil rig count in the Gulf had fallen to 12 in the third week of May, from more than 20 a year earlier.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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