Unocal Halts Drilling Offshore Thailand Due to Typhoon

Unocal's Thailand unit has suspended exploration drilling in the Gulf of Thailand due to an approaching typhoon. It said, however, that production from its natural gas facilities have continued operations without interruption.

Unocal Thailand has shut down drilling rigs since Sunday as a precautionary move following a weekend typhoon in the Philippines.

As of Wednesday, 781 people had been evacuated from all offshore operating areas in the Gulf of Thailand, the company said in a statement.

"Unocal still has over 100 people in the Gulf of Thailand that are keeping the gas production at the normal rate of 1.1 billion cubic feet a day to prevent natural gas disruption to the country," stated Unocal, the country's largest natural gas supplier.

The announcement did not say when the drilling would be resumed.

Nearly 11,000 houses were destroyed and more than 23,000 buildings damaged when Typhoon Muifa struck the Bicol region southeast of Manila over the weekend, affecting more than 250,000 people. At least 79 people were killed and at least 86 others are missing.