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Anadarko has become the first oil producer to begin evacuating its employees from the Gulf of Mexico as a storm named Gordon approaches the area and is expected to develop into a hurricane before it reaches the coast.
Reuters reported that the company had evacuated workers from two platforms and has suspended production on them. The platforms—Horn Mountain and Marlin—are located 100 miles and 75 miles from the Louisiana coast, respectively.
For now, there is no news about any more planned evacuations and platform shut-ins. Gordon is expected to reach shore later today near the border between Louisiana and Mississippi. The Coast Guard has warned that three ports nearby may need to be closed, including New Orleans, and Gulfport and Pascagoula in Mississippi.
Chevron and Shell said, as quoted by Reuters, that they are watching the progress of the storm and are preparing their refineries in the area for the landfall. Chevron operates a 352,000-bpd facility in Pascagoula and Shell has a 218,200-bpd refinery in Norco, Louisiana. Other refinery operators in the area are also preparing for a storm.
The U.S. Gulf Coast refineries represent more than 45 percent of the national refining capacity, and the Gulf of Mexico yields 17 percent of the country’s total oil production. As a result of the hurricane warning, West Texas Intermediate is enjoying an increase, with the U.S. benchmark jumping over US$70 a barrel.
Brent, meanwhile, slid down after it became clear that Indian refiners will continue to import Iranian crude using Iranian-arranged and insured tankers. India’s decision follows the same one that Beijing made, switching to tankers owned by the National Iranian Oil Company to secure continued shipments after the November 4 U.S. sanction start.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.