Shell, BHP evacuate U.S. Gulf platform staff before storm

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Royal Dutch Shell is seen at a petrol station in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, Belgium January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Major U.S. oil producers on Tuesday began evacuating and shutting in production at their deepwater Gulf of Mexico platforms in advance of a tropical disturbance expected to become a storm this week.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc and BHP are removing staff from 10 offshore energy platforms that together produce more than 350,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Shell said it evacuated non-essential staff on the Appomattox, Mars, Olympus and Ursa platforms and reduced oil production by about 2,535 barrels per day (bpd) on its Mars and Olympus platforms. It expects minimal impacts to operations.

BP began to evacuate four platforms, the Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Mad Dog and Na Kika, which produce more than 300,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, said spokesman Jason Ryan.

BHP was ramping down production and expected to complete staff departures from its Neptune and Shenzi production platforms by Wednesday afternoon, said spokeswoman Judy Dane.

The Gulf of Mexico is home to 17 percent of U.S. crude oil output and 5 percent of natural gas output daily, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Reporting by Collin Eaton in Houston, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien, Cynthia Osterman and Sandra Maler

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