BP Halts US Gulf Evacuation; No Time-Table for Re-Staffing

HOUSTON Aug 28, 2006 (Dow Jones Newswires)

BP PLC (BP) has halted the evacuation of its staff working in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, now that Tropical Storm Ernesto is projected to bypass the Gulf's main drilling areas, the company said Monday.

The company had evacuated 1,100 non-essential workers out of 2,400 employees working offshore by the end of Sunday.

The evacuations did not impact production, the company said Monday in a recorded statement.

BP will return the evacuated staff "when the threat has passed," the company said in a taped voice mail. The message did not give a time-frame for restaffing offshore platforms.

Earlier Monday, ConocoPhillips (COP) said it would redeploy offshore workers on Tuesday if Ernesto continued on its present path. Chevron Corp. (CVX) also said it may redeploy on Tuesday.

Ernesto's winds are down to 40 miles an hour as of late Monday morning, from 50 mph overnight, the National Hurricane Center said on its Web site. Parts of Florida, which lie in the storm's projected path, are under a hurricane watch.

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

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