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US offshore industry braces for Irma

08 Sep 2017 21:41 (+01:00 GMT)
US offshore industry braces for Irma

Houston, 8 September (Argus) — More US oil and gas producers are evacuating staff from offshore US Gulf of Mexico operations ahead of Hurricane Irma.

ExxonMobil is evacuating all personnel from its Lena platform, as it monitors weather updates to determine which of its facilities and shipments may potentially be on the path of the hurricane. Lena does not produce anymore and is in the process of being decommissioned.

In line with the Florida state's mandatory evacuation order, ExxonMobil has also evacuated non-essential staff from its Port Everglades terminal and has temporarily closed the facility.

"We are communicating with federal, state and local emergency planning officials about the measures that we are taking to prepare for Hurricane Irma," it said.

Shell has suspended some well operations and reduced staff at its eastern US Gulf assets in preparation for severe weather. No production has been shut in so far, but it is ready to take action if forecasts conditions change.

"Currently forecasting models indicate a low probability of Hurricane Irma directly impacting Shell's Gulf of Mexico operations," it said.

Shell said it has safely restarted operations at its Perdido facility, which was shut down ahead of Hurricane Harvey, and is ramping up production. The platform is the world's deepest spar and the second-deepest oil and gas production hub with capacity of 100,000 boe/d.

Independent producer Anadarko also does not anticipate any impact to its offshore Gulf operations, but as a precautionary measure it is removing non-essential personnel from its operated facilities in the eastern part of the Gulf. Production has not been affected at this time, it said.

ExxonMobil, Shell and Anadarko join BP who on 6 September said it is evacuating non-essential personnel from its Thunder Horse platform. In addition, depending on the storm's path, it is preparing to evacuate all non-essential staff from its Cooper River petrochemical complex near Charleston, South Carolina this weekend, the major today said.

Located 150 miles southeast of New Orleans, the Thunder Horse is BP's largest production and drilling platform in the US Gulf of Mexico, with an average capacity of 250,000 b/d of oil and 200mn cf/d of natural gas.

Another US Gulf producer Energy XXI said it is closely monitoring the projected path of Irma "which may require evacuation of offshore facilities if it threatens the Gulf of Mexico."

But Chevron has not evacuated any personnel from its US offshore operations, and all facilities that it operates continue to run as planned.