More Gulf of Mexico Operators Evacuate Staff Ahead of Ivan

ExxonMobil said it was removing 110 non-essential workers from the central and eastern Gulf of Mexico ahead of Hurricane Ivan. Exxon spokeswoman Susan Reeves said production has not been affected yet. Exxon normally produces 80,000 barrels per day of oil and 1.2 billion cubic feet of gas per day in the Gulf of Mexico.

Unocal has evacuated approximately 26 non-essential workers from the eastern Gulf of Mexico and has shut-in approximately 800 barrels of oil equivalent.

ConocoPhillips, ChevronTexaco and Total have also evacuated non-essential workers.

Nexen is suspending drilling at two exploration wells in the Gulf of Mexico but has yet to shut down any production. "We're taking the precaution of securing those rigs and pulling anchors because it takes some time to get that done," Nexen spokesman Kevin Finn said.

"We'll continue monitoring the storm and we'll evaluate production operations as we go forward. I wouldn't anticipate any decisions in that regard perhaps until some time tomorrow."

The exploration wells include a continental shelf natural gas prospect off the Louisiana coast and the Crested Butte play in Nexen's deep-water Aspen region.

The company's oil and gas fields are mainly in the central and western gulf, which may not be in the direct path of the hurricane.