Shell: Evacuated 110 Non-Essential Workers from US Gulf Saturday

NEW YORK Aug 27, 2006 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Energy major Royal Dutch Shell Group PLC (RDSB.LN) said Sunday it had evacuated 110 non-essential personnel from its U.S. Gulf of Mexico operations on Saturday as Hurricane Ernesto approached.

"As of Saturday, there is no impact on Shell-operated production," Shell representative Destin Singleton said in an email. "Plans are in place to evacuate additional personnel, if warranted." The move by Shell Exploration & Production comes as BP PLC (BP) also decided to evacuate 800 of its 2,400 workers Saturday from the Gulf, which produces about a quarter of the U.S.' oil and gas.

The National Hurricane Center, or NHC, early Sunday upgraded Tropical Storm Ernesto to hurricane status. As of 10:45 a.m. EDT, the storm is located about 115 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and 205 miles southeast of Guantanamo, Cuba. Ernesto is the first hurricane of the 2006 Atlantic season and its formation coincides with the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged infrastructure along the Gulf Coast and destroyed parts of New Orleans, La.

Earlier, weather models forecast that Hurricane Ernesto would barrel toward the Texas and Louisiana coasts as a stronger hurricane, but the NHC's latest predictions call for the storm to recurve over the eastern Gulf and make landfall on Florida's Gulf Coast on Thursday or Friday.

Copyright (c) 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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