UpdateOil firms move staff, shut output due to Hurricane Ida

09 November 2009 11:41  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Oil companies in the Gulf of Mexico are evacuating workers and assessing production ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Ida, they said on Monday. 

Some producers have already cut output while others were continuing to monitor the progress of Ida, which was expected to make landfall as early as Tuesday morning.

The US National Hurricane Centre said Ida had weakened to a Category 1 hurricane early on Monday with 90 mph winds, but warnings remained along 200 miles of the Gulf Coast from Mississippi to Florida.

The Gulf of Mexico accounts for more than 25% of US oil production.

BP, one the Gulf's largest oil producers said its Severe Weather Team would continue to monitor the development of Ida and that some precautionary curtailment of production had taken place.

“As a precaution we will soon complete our pre-storm preparation and have secured equipment and facilities. We have evacuated most of our non-essential personnel while maintaining essential operations personnel to continue to produce as conditions allow," BP said.

“In the event that the storm worsens, operations personnel will work to ensure a safe and efficient shut in of production and to also position the facilities for a safe and efficient re-start,” it added.

In a Twitter update, Chevron said it had begun to evacuate personnel and that some production has been shut in.

Chevron also said it had been continuing to operate as it took necessary steps to safely secure its Pascagoula Refinery in advance of the storm and was carefully monitoring the track and forecast of Ida.

ExxonMobil said on its website that currently there was no Gulf of Mexico storm activity affecting its operations. 

Shell said that drilling wasn’t affected, and that it was securing offshore facilities. Several other companies had evacuated non-essential workers, according to earlier reports.

A hurricane warning extended from Pascagoula, Mississippi, east to Indian Pass, Florida. Tropical storm warnings and hurricane watches had been in effect across neighbouring areas including New Orleans.

Concerns over the hurricane helped to push up crude oil prices by more than $1/bbl on Monday.

John Richardson contributed to this article
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By: Franco Capaldo
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