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US Gulf oil and gas operators begin evacuations ahead of storm

Highlights

BP begins evacuation of offshore facilities

Tropical Storm Delta expected to become a hurricane

Current path projects landfall on Louisiana coast

New York — US Gulf offshore oil and gas producers began evacuating personnel Oct. 5 ahead of Tropical Storm Delta, which is expected to enter the area as a hurricane before making landfall in Louisiana later this week.

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BP said it has begun "securing its offshore facilities and evacuating non-essential personnel" from its four offshore platforms.

BP's platforms include Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Mad Dog and Na Kika.

Also, BHP has begun evacuating non-essential crews Oct. 5 at its operated Shenzi and Neptune platforms, company spokeswoman Judy Dane said.

"We have plans in place to be fully evacuated and shut-in by Wednesday [Oct. 7]," Dane told S&P Global Platts.

Also, Occidental Petroleum said it is "carefully tracking" Delta, adding all its facilities in the US Gulf have plans to prepare for weather-related events.

"Those in the storm's potential path are implementing those procedures," Oxy said, but was not more specific.

The US' National Hurricane Center predicts Delta to become a hurricane late Oct. 6, and reach landfall along the central-east Louisiana coast the morning of Oct. 9.

The offshore Gulf of Mexico is home to roughly 1.9 million b/d of crude production capacity, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Louisiana is home to roughly 3.37 million b/d of refining capacity. However, two Lake Charles plants remain down because of power issues following Hurricane Laura in late August.

"All of Louisiana needs to prepare for Tropical Storm Delta" wrote the state's governor John Bel Edwards in a tweet on Oct. 5.

Delta is the 25th named storm to form in the Atlantic this year. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Cayman Islands and a hurricane warning is effect for western Cuba as storm conditions are expected to reach the region by late Oct. 5.