US Gulf of Mexico platforms shut ahead of Hurricane Delta

Royal Dutch Shell said on Tuesday October 6th that it was evacuating nonessential workers from all nine of its offshore Gulf of Mexico operations and preparing to shut production.

BP and Chevron were shutting in production on platforms and evacuating workers to facilities onshore. The employees will continue to observe COVID-19 protocols.

The moves came as Hurricane Delta crossed Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula ahead of a move further northwards to the US Gulf Coast.

Hurricane Delta, which is the 25th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season, had sustained winds of 140mph, a category 4 storm. Landfall in the US is expected later this week.

Equinor and BHP Group also shut in production and evacuated workers from platforms. W&T Offshore was also evacuating staff and preparing to shut-in production in the Gulf on Tuesday.

Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), which is the only US port that can handle the largest oil tankers, said on Tuesday that it was monitoring the storm.

Delta had forced the closure of 29.2% of offshore crude oil production in the US-regulated northern Gulf of Mexico by midday on Tuesday, the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said.

The storm also turned off 8.6% of natural gas output from the Gulf of Mexico, BSEE said.

There have been six storms, starting with Tropical Storm Cristobal back in June, that have affected US offshore oil operations this year.