--Murphy continues production unabated
--Gulf oil production 29% of U.S. total
--Apache monitoring situation, no changes yet to operations
(Adds details throughout.)
By Ben Lefebvre
HOUSTON--Murphy Oil Corp. (MUR) is evacuating all non-essential personnel from its Gulf of Mexico operations as the liklihood of a tropical storm in the region increases, the company said Friday.
Evacuating non-essential employees is generally the first step in preparing for the onset of a tropical cyclone. BP PLC (BP, BP.LN), Chevron Corp. (CVX), Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA, RDSB, RDSA.LN, RDSB.LN) and other oil and gas companies operate oil rigs and platforms staffed with thousands of workers in the Gulf.
In the Gulf of Mexico, Murphy operates the Thunder Hawk, Medusa and Frontrunner platforms.
"We are monitoring the storm closely," Murphy spokesman Barry Jeffery said. "There has been no impact on operations."
The National Hurricane Center said Friday that a large weather system near the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula has a 70% chance of becoming a tropical storm during the next 48 hours. The center said U.S. Gulf Coast states should monitor the progress of the disturbance through the weekend.
Apache Corp. (APA), which produced 145,000 barrels of oil equivalanet a day from shallow Gulf waters in 2010, said it is monitoring the situation but has so far not made any changes to production. Other companies' plans were not immediately known.
Storms and hurricanes can be disruptive to the U.S. Gulf's massive energy infrastructure. Gulf of Mexico federal offshore production accounts for 29% of oil and 12% of gas production in the U.S., down from about 30% for oil and 17% for gas in 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
As of March, federal offshore production from the Gulf was 1.4 million barrels of oil per day and 4.4 billion cubic feet of gas per day, down from its peak of 1.7 million barrels of oil a day and 6.3 billion cubic feet of gas per day in 2010.
Write to Ben Lefebvre at firstname.lastname@example.org
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 22, 2012 12:44 ET (16:44 GMT)
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