01:08 GMT08 August 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Workers are abandoning oil platforms and movable rigs in the Gulf of Mexico as Hurricane Michael approaches the state of Florida, leading to a temporary drop in oil and gas output until the storm passes, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement announced in a press release on Tuesday.

    "From operator reports, it is estimated that approximately 39.5 percent of the current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in," the release stated. "It is also estimated that approximately 28.4 percent of the natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in."

    Based on data from offshore operator reports personnel have been evacuated from a total of 75 stationary production platforms, 10.9 percent of the 687 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, the release explained.

    In addition, personnel have been evacuated from three rigs and another eight rigs have been moved out of the storm’s path, the release said.

    Production platforms are the structures located offshore that remain at the same location throughout a project’s duration, as opposed to drilling rigs that move from location to location, according to the release.

    READ MORE: Alabama Declares State of Emergency as Hurricane Michael Targets US Coast

    After the hurricane has passed, facilities will be inspected for damage and immediately brought back on line if no damage is observed, the release noted.

    Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall as a Category 3 storm on Wednesday, the strongest storm to hit the panhandle of Western Florida in 13 years, according to the latest forecasts.


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