Monday, November 9, 2009

Oil Companies pull workers as Ida approaches

Oil companies evacuate workers as Ida approaches

By Thomas Johnson

Oil companies are evacuating workers from operations in the Gulf of Mexico as Tropical Storm Ida approaches.

Chevron Corp. said Monday it has 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.

Ida was moving north-northwest about 185 miles off of the Mississippi River early Monday with winds reaching 70 mph. It was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane earlier in the day.

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 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.


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