With just under two months left in the 2013 hurricane season, a new tropical storm, Karen, has formed in the Gulf of Mexico near the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. Computer models show that Tropical Storm Karen is packing winds of 60 miles per hour and is likely to strengthen to hurricane status over the next 48 hours. Forecasts call for the storm to travel a path across the central Gulf of Mexico toward coastal Louisiana or Mississippi.
Tropical Storm Karen was close to the Dominican Republic and Haiti Thursday, and energy companies operating in the Gulf were said to be monitoring the storm. The forecasts prompted some energy companies operating in the Gulf to begin evacuating non-essential workers.
BP Plc began securing offshore facilities and drilling rigs on Wednesday, the company said in a statement, and evacuation operations for non-essential personnel were underway at Thunder Horse, Na Kika, Atlantis and Mad Dog. BP added that it was suspending oil and natural gas production in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and it was continuing to closely monitor the storm.
Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Murphy Oil Corp. and Apache Corp. all said they would be evacuating all non-essential workers in the eastern and central part of the Gulf of Mexico. Diamond was not planning to evacuate workers in the western Gulf, but it was planning to evacuate a rig off the Mississippi coast on Monday.
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