Argos semi-submersible offshore platform at the Mad Dog field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico; Source: BP

Keeping an eye on Hurricane Beryl: Shell, BP, and Chevron take steps to protect Gulf of Mexico staff and assets

While continuing to track any changes in the decreasing threat level Beryl’s approach presents to their assets and workforce in the Gulf of Mexico, three oil majors, Shell, BP, and Chevron, have taken certain precautionary measures to ensure the safety of their offshore personnel. This hurricane has left a trail of destruction in its wake, including multiple deaths. When Beryl’s winds reached category five strength earlier this week, it became the earliest Atlantic storm to do so in June/July given how quickly it developed.

Argos semi-submersible offshore platform at the Mad Dog field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico; Source: BP

As Beryl’s danger intensity has lessened and the path it is likely to take is expected to have no impact on the most prominent offshore platforms and drilling locations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, no major impact on offshore oil and gas production is anticipated. While the assets that were previously at risk are no longer thought to be so, some oil and gas operators have already put measures in place to tackle the threat of this hurricane and are vigilantly monitoring its progress.

In line with this, Shell started evacuating non-essential personnel at its Perdido asset on June 3 while setting the wheels in motion to shut in production out of precaution. The UK-headquartered energy giant also began evacuating the same type of staff at its Whale asset, which is not scheduled to come online until later this year.

The following day, the firm completed the safe shut-in of production and confirmed the evacuation of all personnel was underway at both the Perdido platform and Whale. In addition, the oil major also paused some of its drilling operations and currently has no other impacts on its production across the Gulf of Mexico.

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Similarly, BP set out to prepare for Beryl, as forecasts indicated it may track into the western Gulf of Mexico as a hurricane in the following days. On June 3, the UK-based heavyweight was removing non-essential personnel from its Mad Dog platform. Once new data came in the following day, the firm noted that forecasts showed Beryl was no longer a significant threat to its Gulf of Mexico assets.

Meanwhile, U.S.-headquartered Chevron was transporting nonessential personnel from its Gulf of Mexico facilities while the production from its operated assets remained normal. The firm’s efforts included the demobilization of personnel at Anchor, where the first production is still on track for the third quarter.

Based on data from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Beryl is still anticipated to emerge over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico tonight and move northwestward toward northeastern Mexico and southern Texas by the end of the weekend. While rapid weakening is expected as Beryl crosses the Yucatan Peninsula, slow re-intensification is anticipated when it moves over the Gulf of Mexico.

“The outermost northern squalls of Hurricane Beryl are affecting the SE Gulf of Mexico waters, with the stronger convection noted in the Yucatan Channel. Generally dry conditions prevail in the rest of the basin. Aside from Beryl, moderate or weaker winds and slight to moderate seas prevail in the Gulf,” according to the NHC.

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“Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 65 mph (100 km/h) with higher gusts. Continued weakening is expected during the next few hours as Beryl crosses the Yucatan Peninsula. Re-intensification is expected once the center moves back over the Gulf of Mexico, and Beryl is forecast to regain hurricane status on Sunday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km) from the center,” emphasized the NHC.