Gulf of Mexico energy producers shut down ahead of hurricane

City A.M. Reporter
ENERGY companies in the Gulf of Mexico started shutting in production yesterday and were evacuating some workers as Tropical Storm Karen headed toward a crucial part of the basin, which overall provides nearly a fifth of daily US oil output.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm was expected to be at or near hurricane strength today, and that it was expected to reach land over the weekend.

BHP Billiton said yesterday it was fully evacuating and shutting oil and gas production at its two platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. It was the second Gulf producer to confirm a full shutdown and evacuation because of Tropical Storm Karen, behind Anadarko Petroleum’s announcement that it had done the same at one of its eight platforms.

Similar announcements were expected as Karen’s projected path crossed areas known as Mississippi Canyon and Green Canyon, where the bulk of the Gulf’s deepwater oil and gas platforms are located.

US crude futures settled lower despite Karen’s approach as investors worried that the US government shutdown could cut demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.

The Gulf of Mexico accounts for about 19 percent of US daily oil production.