Photo: Na Kika platform in the Gulf of Mexico; Source: BP

Operators shutting in Gulf of Mexico platforms ahead of hurricane

Two oil and gas operators in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, BP and Chevron, have shut in production at some of their assets and evacuated personnel ahead of an expected impact by Hurricane Ian.

In an update on Monday BP said it is closely monitoring Hurricane Ian in the Caribbean Sea to protect its personnel and operations in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

With forecasts indicating the hurricane will strengthen and move across the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico in the next few days, BP has taken steps to respond. As a result, BP has shut in production and evacuated all personnel from its Na Kika platform and is also shutting in production and evacuating all essential personnel from the Thunder Horse platform.

BP noted it will continue to monitor weather conditions closely to determine the next steps.

BP operates five platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, including Argos, the centrepiece of the Mad Dog 2 project and the company’s fifth platform in the Gulf and the first new platform since Thunder Horse began production in 2008. Argos is expected to come online later this year.

BP's Gulf of Mexico assets
BP’s Gulf of Mexico assets; Source: BP

Chevron also said that, both offshore and onshore, it is following its storm plans and paying close attention to the forecast and track of Hurricane Ian.

In preparation for the tropical weather, Chevron has started transporting all personnel from its Petronius and Blind Faith platforms and is shutting in the facilities. Production at other Chevron-operated Gulf of Mexico assets remains at normal levels.

“Chevron will continue to closely monitor the storm and remains focused on the safety of our workforce, the integrity of our facilities and the protection of the environment,” the company concluded.

In a report released on Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that, on the forecast track, the centre of Ian is expected to move near or over western Cuba early this morning. Ian will then emerge over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico today, pass west of the Florida Keys later today, and approach the west coast of Florida on Wednesday into Thursday.

The NHC added that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 110 mph (175 km/h) with higher gusts. Rapid strengthening is expected today, and Ian is forecast to become a major hurricane today when it is near western Cuba and remain a major hurricane over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.