Shell said on Thursday that it had shut in production at all nine of its platforms in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and evacuated all personnel, as operators rush to stop production as Hurricane Delta enters the Gulf
“As a precautionary measure, Shell has shut in production at all nine of its assets and has evacuated all personnel. All drilling operations have been safely paused,” the company said in a statement today, while operators in the Gulf have already shut in more than 80 percent of the current oil production in the area.
Oil producers in the Gulf of Mexico started evacuating platform staff earlier this week, ahead of Delta, which is expected to reach the Gulf as a Category 3 hurricane before it enters the Gulf.
Oil prices were rising by more than 2 percent on Thursday morning, supported by the shut-ins in the Gulf.
According to the National Hurricane Center, “On the forecast track, the center of Delta will move over the central Gulf of Mexico today, and move inland within the hurricane warning area Friday afternoon or Friday night.”
The center advises there would be hurricane conditions and life-threatening storm surge along portions of the Northern Gulf Coast on Friday.
Several storms this season have shut in production in the Gulf, starting with Cristobal in June and most recently ending with Sally. The hurricane that shut in the most oil and gas production in the Gulf, however, was Laura, which made landfall in late August.
At its peak, Laura forced the evacuation of all 16 dynamically positioned drilling rigs, 11 of the 12 positioned drilling rigs moored to the seafloor, and nearly half of the 643 offshore production platforms operating in the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico. The peak shut-in of crude oil production occurred on August 25, two days before Laura’s landfall, when 84 percent of the region’s average daily crude oil production in 2019 was shut in, the EIA said earlier this month.