Harvey stops some offshore oil and gas drilling

By The Associated Press

Some offshore oil and gas operators are evacuating platforms and drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of Hurricane Harvey. But many others don't appear to be affected as of midday Thursday.

 

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on Louisiana's preparations for heavy rains as Hurricane Harvey moves toward Texas (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

Some offshore oil and gas operators are evacuating platforms and drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of Hurricane Harvey. But many others don't appear to be affected as of midday Thursday.

The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which regulates offshore drilling, says it estimates just under 10 percent of Gulf oil production had been stopped, and less than 1 percent of natural gas production. The statement from the agency's New Orleans office says workers have been evacuated from 39 of the Gulf's 737 production platforms and one of approximately 30 drilling rigs.

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1 p.m.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency as the state prepares for possible heavy rains from Hurricane Harvey.

Harvey was expected to hit Texas late Friday or early Saturday. Forecasts say parts of Louisiana could see 10 to 15 inches of rain over several days. But officials stressed that Harvey's long-term path was uncertain. It could stall after landfall, and might move east.

Maj. Gen. Glenn Curtis of the Louisiana National Guard said the state has positioned six boats and 15 high-water vehicles in the New Orleans area and can dispatch more to other parts of the state if needed.

In New Orleans, where flash floods Aug. 5 revealed drainage pump problems, Mayor Mitch Landrieu urged vigilance, saying improvements continue but the system remains below full capacity.

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12:20 p.m.

A Texas-bound hurricane is raising flood fears in Louisiana, with forecasters saying it could bring well over a foot of rain in the coming days.

At a Thursday news conference in New Orleans, Mayor Mitch Landrieu urged residents to keep storm drains clean and watch local media for updates on Harvey, which reached hurricane strength at midday.

Flash floods Aug. 5 caught sections of the city by surprise, revealing problems with the system of pumps and pipes that drain the city.

Landrieu said Thursday that improvements are ongoing. But the system remains below full capacity.

Other parts of Louisiana, where disastrous storm flooding hit just over a year ago, were watching Harvey as well.

Gov. John Bel Edwards set an afternoon news conference on the storm.

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