Hurricane Alex gains strength, shuts-in oil and gas production

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Strengthening into a hurricane overnight on Tuesday, Hurricane Alex is currently about 220 miles southeast of Brownsville, Texas; and according to the National Hurricane Center, “Alex is in no hurry.”  

Look to PennEnergy’s Global Offshore Weather Report daily to find out the most up-to-date information about this storm, as well as wind, weather and wave information for the nine busiest offshore regions worldwide.

Currently rated as a Category 1 storm, Hurricane Alex is the first hurricane in the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, packing sustained winds of 80 miles per hour. Hurricane Alex is currently traveling at a rate of 7 miles per hour, gaining strength over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Expected to take a westward turn later Wednesday, the hurricane is forecasted to make landfall Thursday evening, reports ImpactWeather. Hurricane Alex is forecasted to make landfall about 120 miles south of the Texas border.

Hurricane-force winds extend up to 25 miles from the eye of the storm, and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 200 miles from the center of the storm.

Oil and Natural Gas Production Disrupted, Offshore Staff Evacuated

Offshore employees have been evacuated from 28 production platforms, equivalent to 4.4 percent of the 634 manned platforms in the US Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, staff from three rigs in the path of Hurricane Alex have been evacuated.

According to the BOE, approximately 24.74 percent of oil production and 9.38 percent of natural gas production in the US Gulf has been shut-in because of Hurricane Alex.

The BOE has activated a team to monitor the US Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Alex, as well as any production shut-in and personnel evacuations, until operations have returned to normal.

After Hurricane Alex has passed, all the production platforms and drilling rigs in the path of the storm will be inspected before being brought back online.

Located well east of the path of the hurricane, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill containment measures will not be disrupted. Both the drilling rigs and the containment vessels are staying on location, continuing oil spill containment efforts.

Oil spill clean-up efforts, on the other hand, are being disrupted by the adverse weather. 

For comprehensive coverage of the Deepwater Horizon incident, oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and efforts under way to resolve them, visit PennEnergy's Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico special section.

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