Shell, Murphy evacuating non-essential workers from U.S. Gulf due to storm

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Murphy Oil began evacuating non-essential workers from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico on Thursday because of the threat from Tropical Storm Cristobal.

Shell said production and drilling operations in the U.S.-regulated northern Gulf were unaffected despite the evacuations.

Gulf Coast spot gasoline prices have not significantly gained, traders said. CBOB gasoline in the region traded on Thursday at 12.50 cents per gallon below the futures benchmark, little changed from Wednesday.

Shell and Murphy’s announcements brings the number of companies removing workers from the Gulf to five because of Cristobal, which is forecast to pass through offshore oil production areas in the northern Gulf over the weekend, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Cristobal has weakened in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche but is expected to strengthen before striking the Louisiana coast by Monday morning.

BP Plc said on Wednesday workers were being evacuated as it shuts in production at its Thunder Horse, Na Kika and Atlantis platforms. The company is also pulling non-essential workers from the Mad Dog platform, but production was unaffected.

Norwegian state-oil company Equinor ASA and Occidental Petroleum Corp began evacuating non-essential workers on Wednesday. Equinor plans to shut the Titan platform on Friday, if necessary.

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port LLC (LOOP), Exxon Mobil Corp, Chevron Corp and Hess Corp said their operations were normal.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; editing by Diane Craft

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