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Chow / 11 News: Shell evacuates some workers from oil rigs

10:48 PM CDT on Tuesday, August 14, 2007
By Shern-Min Chow / 11 News

Shell evacuated non-essential personnel from offshore facilities Tuesday because of the developing weather in the Gulf.

The company started moving rig workers Monday, ferrying 88 people to safety.

An estimated 100 additional workers came off the rigs Tuesday.

Crews scheduled for regular offshore leave were also coming back to land, and they said everyone had been keeping an eye on the weather, especially after their experiences with Rita and Katrina.

“We had a lot of damage, and we were nervous.  Because out there we’ve got 35-foot seas, and we lost a lot of platforms. I mean, they sunk to the ground,” rig worker Sherard Benoit said.

Shell temporarily shut down 5 million cubic feet of gas production a day, but experts say that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 8 billion cubic feet of gas produced every day in the Gulf.

They said the major concern is from Tropical Storm Dean.  Early evacuations for that storm could begin as soon as Thursday.

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