Shell to pull workers from Gulf Coast platforms ahead of storm surge

Shell Oil Co., the leading oil producer in the Gulf of Mexico, has removed non-essential workers from offshore platforms due to the threat of a likely tropical cyclone.

  • close
    Galveston Island Park Board of Trustees crews removed trash barrels from the seawall Monday, as they prepare for the tropical disturbance headed toward the Gulf coast, in Galveston, Texas. A low pressure area located over the south central Gulf of Mexico is being monitored by the National Hurricane Center for possible tropical cyclone formation as it moves northwest towards the middle and upper Texas coast.
    Jennifer Reynolds/The Galveston County Daily News/AP
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption

Leading Gulf of Mexico oil producer Shell Oil Co, the U.S. arm of Royal Dutch Shell Plc , said it was removing non-essential workers from offshore platforms as a precautionary measure ahead of a low-pressure storm system given an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours.

Shell said there would be no impact to offshore production due to the removal of non-essential workers ahead of the storm system's approach to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center has warned that tropical storm conditions could appear along the coasts of Texas and Louisiana as early as Tuesday.

Recommended: Gas prices: 5 reasons they rise and fall

Earlier in the day, Shell said it was only monitoring the storm system as did BP Plc.

But by Sunday night, Shell said it was withdrawing workers who primarily provide support services to workers who operate off-shore platforms.

"Shell has initiated efforts to reduce non-essential personnel on some offshore assets as a precautionary measure in addition to normal preparations for heavy weather," said Shell spokesman Ray Fisher.

Removal of non-essentials can also be the first taken prior to temporarily closing production, which happens when production workers are removed to safer areas on-shore.

U.S. oil companies have been closely watching the large tropical disturbance.

The system does not yet have a closed circulation needed to classify it as a tropical storm or hurricane, but was producing winds near gale force or about 38 miles per hour (61 kilometers per hour), or about half the strength of winds generated in the weakest hurricane.

The Hurricane Center as well as academic and private weather forecasters are expecting a below-average number of storms during this year's Atlantic Ocean hurricane season. The season began on June 1 and lasts through Nov. 30.

Some forecasters have warned that the best chance for a tropical storm to develop in the oil production areas off the U.S. Coast could come early in the season. A strong El Nino is expected to form in the eastern Pacific later this summer and would probably send high winds across the southern United States, disrupting tropical storm development.

The Gulf of Mexico produces 17 percent of U.S. crude oil production and 5 percent of dry national gas output, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Gulf Coast states of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi are also home to more than 45 percent of the nation's crude oil refining capacity, according to the EIA. 

Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.




Save for later


Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items


Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items


Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items