Offshore oil and gas operators start ramping up again, as another storm heads for the Gulf of Mexico

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Oil and gas operators have started returning offshore staff to production platforms and drilling rigs after the passing of Tropical Storm Don, as another major storm threatens to hit later this week. 

BOEMRE reported that offshore oil and gas operators have begun re-boarding platforms and restoring shut-in production in the US Gulf, following the passage of Tropical Storm Don.

Before the storm, offshore staff had been evacuated from 56 oil and gas production platforms and four offshore drilling rigs in the path of the storm. Additionally, 11.9 percent of the oil and 6.2 percent of the natural gas produced in the US Gulf had been shut-in as a precautionary measure. 

No offshore facilities were reported damaged from Tropical Storm Don. 

Another Storm Builds Strength 

A serious tropical wave has formed, making its way across the Atlantic toward the Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Service advises that the current weather system has an 80 percent chance of strengthening into a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours.

The tropical wave is creating winds near tropical storm force, and the formation of a tropical depression or a tropical storm by Monday night is highly likely. The storm is currently moving at a rate of 15 to 20 miles per hour and is located near the northern Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands. 

An Air Force Reconnaissance aircraft is currently investigating the storm. 

Expected to be an above-average hurricane season, the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to produce up to 18 named storms with up to six major hurricanes, measuring a Category 3, 4 or 5. 

While the Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1, historically the majority of the storms develop in August.

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