Majors prepare for the storm

PRODUCTION shut-ins at Apache Corporation’s operations in the eastern Gulf of Mexico are likely to curtail production of about 91 million cubic feet of gas and 24,000 barrels of oil per day in anticipation of the approach of Tropical Storm Isaac.
Apache reported on August 26 that it had, as a precautionary measure, ordered the evacuation of about 750 employees and contractors from its facilities.
According to media reports, several other companies including Chevron, Shell and BP were making preparations for the approach of the storm.
US oil and gas news source Fuelfix reported that BP had begun clearing all workers from its Thunder Horse platform, about 241km southeast of New Orleans.
The platform is capable of producing and exporting 250,000bopd from several wells in the area.
Fuelfix also stated that BP had started evacuating non-essential staff from several other offshore facilities.
Shell announced that it had ceased drilling in several areas of the Gulf and evacuated some workers, however, at the time of writing, it had not yet shut down any production operations.
“These personnel are not essential to core producing and drilling operations and will not be able to perform their normal work functions during the passing storm conditions,” Shell said in a statement.
Chevron was also reported to have begun evacuation of workers. According to the National Weather Service (the official voice of the US Government for issuing warnings during life-threatening weather situations), “Tropical Storm Isaac is beginning to enter the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, with maximum [wind speeds] sustained near 65mph [miles per hour]. A gradual turn toward the northwest with a decrease in forward speed, along with some strengthening, is expected…Isaac is expected to approach the northern Gulf Coast on Tuesday. A hurricane warning is in effect for the northern Gulf Coast, including New Orleans”.
Fuelfix stated that the storm was likely to weaken once it passed over Hispaniola and Cuba, but said it could force more evacuations and interrupt operations at oil platforms if it brought strong winds into the Gulf.
Producers in the region were forced to cease operations in June this year when Tropical Storm Debby settled over Florida, causing 44.1 per cent of the Gulf’s daily oil output and 34.8 per cent
of its daily natural gas production to be shut in.

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