Another storm is headed to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico this week, prompting oil and gas operators in the area to start evacuating platforms again.

BP, for example, said it was closely monitoring Tropical Storm Zeta in the Caribbean Sea on Sunday to ensure the safety of its personnel and operations in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.  

“With forecasts indicating the storm will move across the Central and/or Northeastern Gulf of Mexico in the next few days, we are taking steps to respond. bp has begun securing its offshore facilities and evacuating personnel from our four offshore platforms. Safety is our top priority and we will continue to monitor weather conditions closely to determine next steps,” the supermajor said in a statement.

BP has evacuated workers from its Atlantis, Mad Dog, Na Kika, and Thunder Horse platforms in the Gulf.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the center of Zeta will move near or over the northern Yucatan Peninsula later on Monday, move over the southern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, and approach the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday. Zeta is expected to be at or near hurricane conditions on Wednesday and could bring storm surge and heavy rainfall and winds from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

Zeta is the latest hurricane during this year’s very active Atlantic hurricane season that has forced operators in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico to evacuate platforms and rigs and shut-in production. Earlier this month, Hurricane Delta forced the shut-in of more than 91 percent of oil production in the Gulf at peak shut-ins. This made Delta more damaging to oilfield operators than Laura from earlier this year. At its peak, Laura forced the evacuation of 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.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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