Tropical Storm Gordon shut down offshore at some US Gulf of Mexico oil platforms on Tuesday as the storm, expected to strengthen to a category 1 hurricane, shifted eastward. NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center photo.
Tropical Storm Gordon expected to make landfall Tuesday night
Tropical Storm Gordon has forced a second US Gulf of Mexico oil producer to shut down production as the storm threatens to turn into a category 1 hurricane.
Chevron reports that on Tuesday, it shut in production and evacuated all non-essential personnel from its Petronius platform. Anadarko opted on Monday to shutter production at two of its oil platforms located in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Also on Tuesday, Exxon announced it had evacuated offshore personnel and is performing a controlled shut-down of its Mobile Bay facilities in response to Gordon. The company says it also evacuated the Lena platform, located about 110 miles southeast of New Orleans.
According to the National Weather Service, Gordon is expected to bring wind speeds of at least 74 miles per hour and should make landfall on Tuesday night near Gulfport, Mississippi.
The storm shifted eastward and reduced its threat to major production areas and most US Gulf Coast oil refineries.
According to Reuters, ConocoPhillips and Shell say they will continue to monitor conditions and the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port says it is operating normally.
Oil prices were up slightly, but traders say they do not expect Gordon to have much of an impact on the Gulf’s output and the storm’s threat was overshadowed by data showing rising production.
“There may be slight delays loading from refineries due to vessels not berthing but it is not going to hurt production at all,” one trader told Reuters, referring to refined products supply.
By 8 a.m., local time, ports along the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama, were shut down to inbound traffic greater than 500 tons, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer Alexandria Preston.
Cliff Porter, Harbour Master at the port of Pascagoula, Mississippi said his port was closed to traffic by the US Coast Guard.
As well, pilots guiding ships through the mouth of the Mississippi River at Southwest Pass have ceased operations and all inbound and outbound traffic has been shut down, according to Matt Gresham, director of external affairs at the Port of New Orleans.
Gresham added that a number of companies cut gate operations and the port’s administrative offices were shut at 2 p.m.
On Monday afternoon, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm’s expected arrival in southeast Louisiana. Grand Isle, Louisiana, Mayor David Camardelle announced a voluntary evacuation order for his town of about 1,300 people on Monday.