By Irina Slav
Oil companies operating in the Gulf Coast have started evacuating employees from platforms there ahead of a tropical storm that is brewing in the Gulf.
“A tropical or subtropical depression is expected to form in the western Gulf of Mexico, and no matter how well organized this system becomes, it poses a threat of flooding rain along a part of the northern U.S. Gulf Coast heading into Father’s Day weekend,” the Weather Channel said in an update. “This system could also contribute to coastal flooding, dangerous rip currents and gusty winds.”
Reuters meanwhile reports that Occidental Petroleum (0.14%) and Chevron Corp (-2.31%) were among the companies evacuating staff from platforms. BP and Shell are—for now—monitoring the situation.
“We will continue to closely monitor the storm and we remain focused on the safety of our workforce, the integrity of our facilities and the protection of the environment,” Reuters quoted a Chevron spokesperson as saying.
“All of our facilities have plans to prepare for weather-related events and are implementing those procedures,” Occidental said.
Last month, an American Petroleum Institute official said, as quoted by Reuters, that the offshore oil and gas industry was already preparing for this year’s hurricane season, which was forecast to feature above-average storm activity.
Last year’s season had as many as 30 named storms, several of which battered the offshore oil and gas sector, at one point causing the shutdown of as much as 90 percent of production capacity as well as refining capacity on the Gulf Coast.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has forecast three to five major hurricanes for this year’s hurricane season as well as six to 10 hurricanes with winds of over 74 mph. The authority has also forecast between 13 and 20 tropical storms this season. The numbers are higher than the previous averages because the NOAA changed the 30-yer period it uses as a reference point from 1981-2010 to 1991-2020.