HOUSTON, Sept 27 (Reuters) - About 11% of oil production
in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico was shut on Tuesday as a powerful
Hurricane Ian forced oil companies to evacuate workers and the
storm took aim at Florida.
The hurricane entered the U.S. Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday and
is forecast to become a dangerous, Category 4 storm over the
warm waters of the Gulf, according to National Hurricane Center
(NHC) forecaster Eric Blake.
Ian weakened after crossing Cuba and was packing winds of
120 miles per hour (195 km per hour), the NHC said. It is
heading toward making an extremely dangerous landfall in
southwestern Florida, Blake predicted.
Some 190,000 barrels per day of oil production, or 11% of
the Gulf's total were shut-in, according to offshore regulator
the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).
Producers lost 184 million cubic feet of natural gas or nearly
9% of daily output.
Personnel were evacuated from 14 production platforms and
rigs, BSEE said.
It is the first hurricane this year to disrupt oil and gas
production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, which produces about 15%
of the nation's crude oil and 5% of dry natural gas. Ian's
course takes it east of the core of U.S. offshore oil and gas
"The storm is so massive, it's going to affect all of
Florida," said Jim Foerster, a consulting meteorologist at data
and analytics firm DTN. "This is going to be really, really
Ian will be "very impactful, not only to the offshore
operations, but certainly, there will be tens of thousands of
people without power over land," Foerster added.
Tampa Electric said it will proactively cut off service to
customers and warned that they should be prepared for "extended
Offshore producers Chevron, Occidental Petroleum
and Hess on Monday said they had taken
precautions ahead of the storm's arrival in the Gulf.
BP said it was working to redeploy offshore personnel
to two offshore production platforms after determining Hurricane
Ian no longer posed a significant threat to its Gulf Of Mexico
assets. The oil major had on Monday evacuated personnel and
halted output at Na Kika and Thunder Horse platforms.
Chevron also removed staff from two platforms, while
Occidental and Hess said they were implementing storm procedures
without providing specifics.
Tankers and vessels cleared the eastern Gulf of Mexico
region, Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking showed.
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(Reporting by Arathy Somasekhar; Editing by Mark Porter and