Operators evacuate as tropical storm Nicholas looms

Sept. 13, 2021
More than 40% of the US Gulf of Mexico’s oil and gas output remained offline as of Monday.

Offshore staff

HOUSTON – Evacuations were underway on Monday from offshore US Gulf of Mexico oil platforms in preparation for hurricane-force winds from a second Gulf Coast storm in as many weeks.

Tropical Storm Nicholas was taking aim at the Texas coast with 70 miles per hour (113 kph) winds, threatening to bring winds and flooding to coastal Texas and Louisiana still recovering from Hurricane Ida.

Nicholas could become a hurricane just ahead of landfall on Monday night, according to the National Hurricane Center.

More than 40% of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico’s oil and gas output remained offline on Monday, two weeks after Ida slammed into the Louisiana coast, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. 

Royal Dutch Shell said it had begun evacuating non-essential personnel from its Perdido platform, and Occidental Petroleum Corp. said it was implementing procedures to safeguard workers, signaling its own offshore evacuations.

Sixty-three oil platforms representing 11% of the 560 platforms operating in the US Gulf of Mexico remain evacuated following Hurricane Ida, as of Sunday. One of 11 stationary drilling rigs in the Gulf remains offline, and two of the 15 mobile drilling rigs are still moved off location, according to the Interior Department.