BP, Shell to restaff Gulf work after Debby storm image

BP Plc said on Monday it would start restaffing Gulf of Mexico oil and gas platforms that were evacuated because of Tropical Storm Debby.

On the same time, Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Monday it had begun redeploying staff to its operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico as Tropical Storm Debby appears to head away from offshore oil-production facilities and toward Florida.

Tropical Storm Debby blew through the Gulf last weekend and into Monday, forcing producers to evacuate personnel and shut in production. Energy companies shut in 1.565 billion cubic feet a day of natural-gas production–34.8% of the Gulf’s output–as of 12:30 p.m. EDT Monday, according to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

About 31.7% of the Gulf’s offshore platforms were evacuated.

Debby came much earlier than expected, as the average fourth named storm in the Atlantic arrives around Aug. 29, said William Gray, co-author of the widely followed Colorado State University storm season forecast. Nevertheless, it won’t alter the university’s previously stated predictions of a slightly below average storm season this year.

Offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico accounts for 12% of natural-gas production in the U.S., according to the Energy Information Administration. Prices often rise when severe storms threaten production in the region.