Gulf Petroleum Workers Evacuate Ahead of Tropical Storm Don

Some oil and gas exploration and production facilities in the western Gulf of Mexico are being evacuated, as Tropical Storm Don makes its way to the Texas coast.

Anadarko Petroleum has been evacuating support personnel from rigs and platforms in the likely path of the tropical storm, as have several other companies.  Apache has evacuated "a couple hundred" non-essential workers, as the company's Patrick Cassidy explains.

"People such as painters or sandblasters — those who aren't crucial to the operation of the wells.  We monitor the weather in the Gulf of Mexico intently.  We continue to monitor the progress and expected progress of Tropical Storm Don.  We'll take the necessary precautions, depending on where the storm eventually makes landfall."

Shell Oil began securing well operations and evacuating some 70 workers earlier in the week.  BHP Billiton and BP have also been using helicopters and boats to evacuate non-essential workers.  Apache's Patrick Cassidy says some of their wells could be shut-in, if the situation warrants.

"We haven't shut in any of our wells, yet, but we do continue to monitor it.  And one of the things we will consider, too, is, although our wells may be able to perform, if it affects third-party facilities such as pipelines or our production goes through a platform operated by another operator and they choose to shut-in, we may well have to shut-in our facilities, too."

Some 29 percent of U.S. oil production comes from the Gulf, and 13 percent of natural gas.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...