Tropical Storm Isaac gained strength Friday while south of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the National Weather Center has reported. Some additional intensification is possible before Isaac reaches Hispaniola and eastern Cuba Friday night and into Saturday. Florida and the central/eastern Gulf Coast should continue to monitor the progress of Isaac closely as the latest predictions indicate landfall near Mississippi/Alabama border.
Bloomberg reports that BP Plc began evacuating its Thunder Horse oil platform in the Gulf and suspended crude and natural gas production there in anticipation of the storm. BP also plans to remove non-essential rig workers from its Na Kika, Horn Mountain and Marlin platforms, Arturo Silva, a BP spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement today.
Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell Plc., Eni SpA, Apache Corp., Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. and Ensco Plc said they were planning to evacuate some nonessential workers. Shell said on its website that drilling operations have been suspended on some central and eastern Gulf assets, though production has not been affected.
Transocean said it evacuated 18 non-essential workers from the Discoverer Enterprise rig. The company has 14 rigs in the area where the storm is projected to go, according to Guy Cantwell, a Transocean spokesman.