Big Oil evacuates Gulf platforms as disturbance strengthens – Houston Chronicle

The top Big Oil operators in the Gulf of Mexico said Tuesday they are evacuating workers from most of their deepwater platforms in response to this hurricane season’s first major storm in the area.

The potential hurricane, which would be named Barry if it continues to strengthen, is expected to travel westward along the Gulf Coast toward Louisiana and possibly farther to Texas.

The Gulf’s leading producers – BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron – are evacuating much of their offshore personnel and shutting down oil and gas output at many of their sites in preparation of the strengthening storm. A decent chunk of the Gulf’s 2 million barrels of daily oil production is about to come offline for a few days.

Other large Gulf producers like The Woodlands-based Anadarko Petroleum and Australia’s BHP Billiton are evacuating multiple platforms as well.

Chevron said it will evacuate and shut down production at five of its platforms – the Big Foot, Blind Faith, Genesis, Petronius and Tahiti complexes. A sixth, Jack St. Melo, will remain operating normally while non-essential people are evacuated.

“At our onshore facilities, we are following our storm preparedness procedures and paying close attention to the forecast and track of the storm,” a Chevron spokeswoman said.

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