Photo: Big Foot; Source: Chevron

Chevron, Occidental evacuating Gulf of Mexico staff ahead of storm

U.S. oil companies Chevron and Occidental Petroleum started withdrawing staff and implementing storm precautions at their U.S. Gulf of Mexico offshore facilities ahead of a brewing tropical storm.

The U.S. National Weather Service said on Thursday that a weather disturbance over the Gulf of Mexico could become a tropical storm by Friday and hit Louisiana and Mississippi coasts.

Occidental said on its website that all of its facilities have plans to prepare for weather-related events and were implementing those procedures. As of the time of writing, there was no available information on any potential decreases in production at Occidental’s Gulf of Mexico facilities.

Reuters stated in an article that Chevron also removed non-essential staff from three U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil platforms and fully evacuated a fourth but stated that its production levels were still normal.

Chevron spokesperson Deena McMullen told Reuters: “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“.

All workers were evacuated from Chevron’s Genesis facility, located some 150 miles (240 kilometres) off the coast of Louisiana, and non-essential workers were removed from its Big Foot, Jack/St. Malo, and Tahiti production platforms.

BP, along with Shell, is monitoring the situation. BP previously stated on its website that it would be closely monitoring tropical storm activity and hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season that could impact its operations in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The Atlantic hurricane season usually lasts from 1 June until 30 November.

As for the conditions during the storm, the National Weather Service added that a tropical storm might begin on Friday along portions of the central Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border. Rainfall of up to 12 inches in isolated areas could hit the Gulf Coast and the Southern Appalachians.