Offshore companies have started to evacuate workers from production platforms and drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura.
Workers have been evacuated from 114 offshore production platforms, about a fifth of the 643 platforms in operation in the Gulf of Mexico. Companies also have either evacuated personnel from or moved 13 drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, half of the 26 rigs in operation in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which oversees offshore oil and gas production.
Offshore operators have temporarily halted about 58 percent of the oil production and 45 percent of the natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, BSEE said.
Offshore personnel are being evacuated off platforms and rigs by helicopter, which poses a challenge during the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. During Tropical Depression Cristobal in June, several oil companies mandated offshore workers wear face masks aboard helicopter flights and isolate themselves at home.
Suzanne Lemieux, the manager of emergency response policy with the American Petroleum Institute, earlier said she was not aware of any coronavirus outbreaks from the Cristobal evacuations.
“Our infrastructure is exposed to the storm, especially offshore,” Lemieux said in a conference call with reporters this month. “(Hurricanes are) always a significant concern every season. We see increased risk this year.”
This article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.