Gulf of Mexico Operators Evacuate Non-Essentials Workers from Platforms

Several operators in the Gulf of Mexico have begun the evacuation of production platform workers as Hurricane Isidore passes western Cuba and heads toward the U.S. Gulf. Shell, BP and Unocal have begun evacuations of non-essential workers. The evacuation process will continue through the weekend. Crude and natural gas production should not be affected by the evacuations. "We're being very cautious and monitoring this hurricane," said a BP spokeswoman. "Naturally, most of the evacuations are taking place by boat, so we want to be ahead of the storm." Shell has already evacuated 650 nonessential workers. All operations remain staffed with essential personnel and production is not affected. Unocal is evacuating nonessential workers from its Gulf operations "in order to streamline any further evacuations should circumstances dictate."

Hurricane Isidore has 100 mile per hour winds and is heading slowly toward the Gulf of Mexico. The storm is not expected to reach the oil and gas producing regions of the Gulf of Mexico until early next week.