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Oil majors begin offshore evacuations as storms take aim at Gulf of Mexico

By Liz Hampton and Jennifer Hiller

(Reuters) – BP, Shell and Chevron Corp on Friday said they had begun evacuating offshore oil facilities, with two tropical cyclones heading toward the U.S Gulf of Mexico as the already active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season heats up further.

BP said it had begun the process of evacuating personnel from offshore platforms and drilling rigs, while also beginning to shut-in production at its four operated platforms in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Mad Dog and Na Kika.

Shell said it had started to reduce non-essential personnel on some of its offshore facilities. It said there was currently no effect on production and work was underway to secure drilling operations.

Meanwhile, Chevron said it was evacuating all personnel at its Big Foot, Genesis, Jack/St. Malo and Tahiiti platforms and initiating shut-in procedures. It also began evacuating non-essential workers from its Blind Faith and Petronius platforms, but said production remained normal.

The tropical cyclones churning toward the Gulf of Mexico could both could make landfall as hurricanes next week, an extremely rare event that could cause massive disruption from Texas to the Florida Panhandle.

(Reporting by Liz Hampton; editing by Diane Craft and Tom Brown)

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