Oil producers were evacuating offshore production platforms in the US Gulf of Mexico yesterday October 26th as Storm Zeta, the 27th named storm of the season strengthened overnight and looked likely to threaten the US, probably as a Category 1 hurricane.
BP, BHP Group, Chevron, Equinor and Royal Dutch Shell began withdrawing staff from their US Gulf of Mexico offshore facilities. The storm was scheduled to hit the Yucatan Peninsula at noon local time on Monday, then tp approach the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday at or near hurricane strength, according to the US National Hurricane Centre.
Early on Monday local time Zeta was about 175 miles south of Cozumel, Mexico, moving northwest at 9 mph. Mexico’s government issued a hurricane warning for parts of the Yucatan Peninsula.
BP said that “with forecasts indicating the storm will move across the Central and/or Northeastern Gulf of Mexico in the next few days, we are taking steps to respond,” It removed oilworkers from all four of its production platforms in the Gulf.
BHP, Chevron and Shell also began moving non-essential staff from offshore facilities, spokespeople said. Equinor withdrew workers and shut production on its Titan production platform.
If Zeta does reach the US mainland, it will mean that 11 named Atlantic storms have hit the US in a single hurricane season – a record.
Mississippi River ports from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico were open on Monday but they were all placed on notice of gale force winds from a storm due within 72 hours.