HOUSTON (Reuters) – Energy companies on Monday halted nearly a fifth of Gulf of Mexico oil production and evacuated staff from 13 platforms as Hurricane Michael intensified and headed for a path up the eastern U.S. Gulf.
Offshore producers including Anadarko Petroleum Corp, BHP Billiton, BP and Chevron Corp evacuated workers from oil and gas platforms in the Gulf.
Forecasters predicted the storm would become a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 111 to 129 miles per hour (178 to 208 km per hour) and bring heavy seas to producing areas.
Companies turned off 324,190 barrels per day of oil and nearly 284 million cubic feet of natural gas at midday on Monday, according to a survey of producers. Five drilling rigs were moved out of the storm’s path, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.