Aug. 24 (UPI) -- After clearing staff from four Gulf of Mexico installations, Anadarko Petroleum said it shut down operations until threats from Tropical Storm Harvey clear.
Anadarko operates 10 installations in the Gulf of Mexico and removed non-essential staff from four of those as Harvey gained strength earlier this week
"We continue to closely monitor the weather conditions in the Gulf of Mexico, and given the potential path of Harvey, we have safely removed all personnel and temporarily shut in production at our operated Boomvang, Gunnison, Lucius and Nansen facilities," the company stated. "These facilities will remain shut-in until the weather has cleared, and it is safe to return our people to these offshore locations."
The National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla, issued a hurricane warning for the Texas coast from Port Mansfield to Matagorda. After losing strength earlier this week, Harvey reformed as a tropical storm and should move quickly toward the southern Texas coast. Hurricane conditions are likely by late Friday.
British energy company BP, which operates four production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico, said it was closely monitoring the storm system. The company said normal operations continue at all of its operated offshore facilities at this time.
Anadarko said it was prepared to take further steps in the Gulf of Mexico if necessary. Harvey would be the first hurricane to hit Texas in nearly a decade if forecasts are accurate.
The Gulf of Mexico accounts for about 20 percent of total U.S. production. Offshore oil production is on pace to increase nearly 9 percent next year to about 1.85 million barrels per day.
For retail gasoline prices, the largest one-month increase on record in the United States was Aug. 5 to Sept. 4, 2005, when prices jumped 75 cents largely because of Hurricane Katrina.
Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy, told UPI that Harvey could be a relatively weak storm, but flooding, power losses and strong winds could impact an area that represents about a third of total U.S. refining capacity.
"While oil rigs may also be evacuated, the larger hit would be if refineries slow down or shut down for the storm," he said. "In terms of U.S. gasoline prices, nothing could have a larger impact than refineries having to shut down ahead of the storm."
The 2017 hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.