GOM Operations Continue to Shut Down in Advance of Claudette

Oil companies and drilling contractors are continuing to evacuate workers and shutdown production platforms in the western Gulf of Mexico on Monday as Tropical Storm Claudette makes her way towards the Texas coast.

Shell Oil has begun evacuating workers from facilities in the western portion of the Gulf of Mexico, in addition to about 300 nonessential personnel who had already been pulled out late last week the company has shut in 50,000 barrels of oil per day and 150 million cubic feet of gas per day because of the storm.

ChevronTexaco has also evacuated approximately 1,400 workers and shut more oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico because of Tropical Storm Claudette. Chevron said it has shut 105,000 barrels per day of oil and 350 million cubic feet per day of natural gas production.

ExxonMobil has shut in 40,000 barrels per day of crude oil and 150 million cubic feet of natural gas production. The company closed the Hoover Diana platform on Monday in the western Gulf and evacuated the remaining 10 out of 35 workers on the unit.

Others that have shut down some Gulf operations include Marathon Oil Corp., Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Unocal Corp. Unocal has so far evacuated 377 workers, shutting in 950 barrels of oil per day and 27 mmcf/day of natural gas.

The National Weather Service said Claudette, about 285 miles from Corpus Christi, continued to move to the north-northwest at 6 mph. The storm, with 65-mph winds, could turn to the west-northwest within 24 hours of Monday morning and strengthen into a hurricane by Monday afternoon or evening. A hurricane warning was issued Monday for a 200-plus-mile stretch of Texas coastline.

Marathon started evacuating nonessential personnel last week, and completely evacuated two platforms over the weekend. The company shut in a small amount of production from those two platforms, 550 barrels of oil per day and 750,000 cubic feet of gas per day.

Transocean Inc. has evacuated about 200 workers from drilling rigs and suspended operations in 15 others because of high seas and winds from Claudette.