Oil and gas operators evacuate offshore workers, shut-in production in the path of Tropical Storm Bonnie

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Tropical Storm Bonnie is forecasted to enter the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend, stymieing oil and gas operations offshore. 

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 four busiest offshore regions worldwide.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami reports that Tropical Storm Bonnie is currently located in Biscayne Bay, with strong winds and heavy rain already affecting southern Florida.

While positioned over land, the storm has lost some strength, but as Tropical Storm Bonnie enters the Gulf of Mexico, it is expected to ramp back up, potentially forming into a hurricane before making landfall.

ImpactWeather forecasts the storm tracking through the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, most likely making landfall in southeast Louisiana, potentially as early as Saturday evening.

Offshore Workers Evacuated, Production Shut-in

After beginning evacuations of its non-essential offshore personnel in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Thursday, Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS-A, NYSE:RDS-B) stepped up its evacuation efforts on Friday in the face of Tropical Storm Bonnie. To date, Shell has evacuated 615 offshore staff, leaving 900 personnel offshore in the Eastern Gulf.

Additionally, Shell has shut-in production from its eastern Gulf of Mexico assets, excluding its Fairway field in Mobile Bay. Additionally, production from the company’s central GOM assets are being ramped down, especially its subsea fields because they take longer to shut-in.

While its production has not yet been impacted by Tropical Storm Bonnie, Anadarko (NYSE:APC) has also begun evacuating personnel from its offshore facilities in the Gulf of Mexico.

Additionally, Apache (NYSE:APA) has begun evacuations and shut-in some production, while BP (NYSE:BP) is starting to pull its offshore workers, as well, reports Wall St. Journal.

Furthermore, oil spill operations have been curtailed due to Tropical Storm Bonnie. Drilling on the relief well has been stopped, and oil spill clean-up efforts have been stymied. Additionally, the federal government has ordered many vessels related to the Macondo effort to evacuate the oil spill site.

The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season has been forecasted to be “extremely active” with 23 named storms expected and up to 14 hurricanes.

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