BP Plc began turning off production at three platforms in the northern Gulf of Mexico and evacuating workers because of the threat from Tropical Storm Cristobal, forecast to make landfall in Louisiana over the weekend, the company said.
Norwegian state-oil company Equinor ASA began evacuating non-essential workers on Wednesday and plans to shut production on Friday at its Titan oil platform if the storm continues along its projected path, spokesman Hasting Stewart said.
Occidental Petroleum Corp also began flying non-essential workers to shore from central Gulf of Mexico operations, but production was continuing uninterrupted, the company said on Wednesday.
BP is reducing production at its Thunder Horse, Atlantis and Na Kika platforms, the company said. Non-essential workers are being pulled from the Mad Dog platform, but production is not being cut back.
Other Gulf of Mexico operators, including Chevron Corp , Exxon Mobil Corp, BHP Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell and Hess Corp said on Wednesday they are monitoring the storm but have not evacuated workers so far.
Cristobal made landfall on the coast of Mexico on Wednesday and is moving inland over eastern Mexico, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory. The storm is expected to re-emerge over the southern Gulf of Mexico on Friday and move north, threatening the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects the Gulf of Mexico to account for 15% of total U.S. crude oil production in 2020, compared with 23% of total U.S. crude oil production in 2011, as onshore production growth continues to outpace offshore production growth.
(Reporting by Jennifer Hiller and Erwin Seba; Editing by Diane Craft, Will Dunham and Richard Chang)