Equinor’s Bahamas oil terminal damaged by hurricane Dorian. All workers safe

Norwegian oil and gas firm Equinor’s oil storage terminal in the Bahamas has been damaged by the hurricane Dorian earlier this week.

This Copernicus Sentinel-3 image features Hurricane Dorian as it pummels the Bahamas on 2 September 2019 at 15:16 GMT (11:16 EDT). / Source: European Space Agency – Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA

Tropical Cyclone Dorian passed over the Abaco islands (northern Bahamas) on September 1 as a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 295 km/h. On 2 September at 3.00 UTC, its center was over Grand Bahama Island with maximum sustained winds of 285 km/h.

As per the UN reports, at least 20 fatalities have been reported in the Bahamas, 17 in the Abacos and 3 in Grand Bahama. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), more than 76,000 people were affected and are in need of immediate humanitarian relief.

In a statement on Thursday, Equinor expressed concern by the reports of widespread devastation coming from the Bahamas in the aftermath of the hurricane.

Equinor operates the South Riding Point oil storage at Grand Bahama and had 54 personnel there ahead of the arrival of the hurricane.

Equinor said on Thursday: “All Equinor personnel in the Bahamas are now confirmed safe and accounted for. The safety and well-being of our personnel, their families, and the local environment is our first priority.”

“[The employees] had worked at the South Riding Point oil storage terminal up until the precautionary shutdown on 31 August. It has taken some time due to the difficult communications conditions, but we have now succeeded in establishing contact with all of them,” Equinor said.

File photo of Equinor's
Illustration only: Equinor’s South Riding Point oil storage terminal / Source: Equinor

Terminal damaged, oil spills

“Our personnel are all still facing a tough road ahead due to the devastation the hurricane has caused on the islands. Our initial aerial assessment of the South Riding Point facility has found that the terminal has sustained damage and oil has been observed on the ground outside of the onshore tanks. It is too early to indicate any volumes. At this point there are no observations of any oil spill at sea,” the Norwegian firm added.

According to Equinor, the company has mobilized oil spill response resources and they will arrive at South Riding Point “as soon as possible.”

“None of our personnel were at the terminal when the hurricane took place…While weather conditions on the island have improved, road conditions and flooding continue to impact our ability to assess the situation and the scope of damages to the terminal and its surroundings.
We will come back with more updates as soon as we are able to gain access to the terminal area and verify information,” the Norwegian firm said.

According to a UN OCHA report on September 5, hurricane Dorian had passed 140-150 km east of Florida on September 4, as a Category 2 hurricane.

On September 5, at 3.00 UTC, its center was 155 km east of Georgia’s central coast, with maximum sustained winds of 185 km/h (Category 3 hurricane).

Heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge are affecting the coast of central Florida, north and central South Carolina.

On September 4, the Bahamas requested assistance through the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism to respond to DORIAN, which has devastated the country, UN OCHA has informed.

It has said that the hurricane will continue north-northeast, off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina as a Category 3 hurricane before turning north-east on 6 September, weakening slightly as it approaches the North Carolina coast as a Category 2 hurricane.

Some oil operators – BP, BHP, Chevron – in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico last week evacuated non-essential personnel from offshore platforms in the eastern Gulf, as there was a possibility of the hurricane crossing Florida and entering the Gulf.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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