Emergency steps taken as Tropical Storm Gordon nears US Gulf Coast

Author: David Haydon


HOUSTON (ICIS)--As Tropical Storm Gordon nears the US Gulf Coast, companies and government agencies took steps on Tuesday ranging from enacting emergency plans to shutting down ports.

"We have robust storm preparedness plans in place, and are making sure to follow all the necessary procedures," a Chevron representative said in regards to its refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi. "The safety of our personnel remains our highest priority."

The Alabama State Port Authority closed its facilities and evacuated personnel, it said.

The governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama declared states of emergency in preparation for Gordon’s impact.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said 54 platforms in the Gulf of Mexico were evacuated on Tuesday, making up 7.86% of the 687 manned platforms in the area.

Approximately 9.23% of the current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has also been shut-in, as well as 9.06% of natural gas production.

Anadarko petroleum confirmed all of its employees have been removed from facilities at Horn Mountain and Marlin with production at both platforms shut in.

All other Anadarko platforms remain on production, the company added.

Back onshore, gasoline production and refined products as well as chlor-alkalis are at risk from Gordon, which is expected to strengthen to hurricane-strength.

The storm is projected to make landfall at or near the coast of Louisiana, which is home to several refineries and petrochemical plants. In particular, Louisiana is home to many chlor-alkali and vinyl plants.

As of 16:00 Houston time (21:00 GMT), Gordon was 90 miles (145km) south of Mobile, Alabama. The storm is moving toward the northwest at about 15 miles/hour, and is expected to make landfall later in the night.

Tropical storms can disrupt the North American petrochemical industry, since oil and gas production is concentrated in the Gulf of Mexico and much of the country's plants are on the US Gulf coast.

Even the threat of a major storm can disrupt oil and natural gas supplies because companies must evacuate US Gulf platforms as a precaution.

The Atlantic hurricane season began on 1 June and will end on 30 November.