Saturday led to several oil and gas producers in the Gulf of Mexico shutting down and evacuating employees as Tropical Storm Debby was named the first storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.
BP Plc announced on Saturday that it had given the orders to shut down seven platforms in the Gulf as weather conditions in the area continued to worsen. According to BP:
“Those unable to evacuate will shelter in place for the tropical storm.”
To prepare for the storm oil producers were securing wells and shutting down output.
Among BP’s shutdowns is the world’s largest deepwater platform known as Thunder Horse. The Thunder Horse platform is capable of producing 250,000 barrels of oil per day and 200 million cubic feet per day of natural gas.
At the time of shutdown announcements tropical storm Debby was 220 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and moving north.
While several forecasts shows Debby moving towards Florida, the consensus pointed towards the Texas coast while moving to areas directly south of Louisiana where a large majority of the Gulf’s oil and gas are produced.
Debby is expected to make land fall late next week if it remains on its current path. Debby is currently listed as a tropical storm with 50 mile per hour winds.
In the meantime the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement says only 7.8 percent of daily oil and 8.16 percent of daily natural gas output has been affected by the shutdowns.
Even though only a small percentage of the area was shut down the Gulf of Mexico accounts for 20 percent of U.S. oil production and 6 percent of our natural gas drilling.