Oil companies evacuate workers as Ida approaches
November 10, 2009
According to the Associated Press, oil companies evacuated workers from operations in the Gulf of Mexico as Tropical Storm Ida approached. Chevron Corp. said it removed enough employees to affect oil production in the Gulf. The company said in a news release that it is closely watching its Pascagoula refinery, located on the Mississippi coast between Mobile, Ala. and New Orleans, and taking "all necessary steps" to secure it ahead of the storm. The storm trajectory would put it east of New Orleans and the majority of oil and gas facilities in the Gulf, but that can change quickly. Oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico account for about 25 percent of U.S. crude production and about 15 percent of natural gas production. Oil and gas producers pull workers off of platforms and from other facilities as a matter of policy if a serious storm threatens. How that affects production, and energy prices, depends on the severity of the storm. A Category 1 hurricane like Ida can lead to shut-ins that take 1.3 million barrels of oil off the market, according to the Energy Information Administration. Those production numbers plummet when hurricanes hit Category 4. Such a storm could remove 14.6 million barrels of production.