Gulf of Mexico oil workers evacuate as third storm threatens

Neighbors collect sandbags in preparation for Tropical Storm Beta, in Corpus Christi, US, September 19, 2020.

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc has halted some oil production activities and began evacuating its workers from a platform in US waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the company said on Saturday as a new tropical storm gained strength.

Beta, the 23rd storm to be designated during the Atlantic hurricane season, formed in the Bay of Campeche and was forecast to gradually strengthen to affect the Texas coastline throughout the week, the National Hurricane Center said. of the United States (CNH).

Oil and gas producers were still reviving their offshore operations. 17% of offshore crude production in US waters of the Gulf of Mexico was still out of service Saturday due to the waves and winds of Hurricane Sally, and nearly 13% of gas production.

CNH lowered its forecast for maximum winds to 75 miles per hour (120 kph), just above tropical storm intensity. A drier air mass will limit Beta’s power and could prevent it from becoming a hurricane, the center said in an update Saturday.

Shell said it was removing non-essential employees from its Perdido rig in the western part of the Gulf and securing nearby drilling rigs.

Occidental Petroleum Corp, which operates in the same area, said it also began implementing storm procedures.

BP, Hess Corp. and Murphy Oil Corp. were monitoring conditions, spokesmen for the companies said.

Beta was located about 395 km south of Lake Charles, Louisiana, with winds of 96 km / h at 1800 GMT, the NHC said. The center issued a hurricane watch for most of the Texas coastline and warned of rains of up to 25 cm along the northwest Gulf coast.

Reporting by Gary McWilliams and Erwin Seba; edited by Gabriel Burin

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