Work­ers re­moved from oil plat­forms as hur­ri­cane moves in

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - NATIONAL NEWS -

HAL­I­FAX — ExxonMo­bil re­moved some of its work­ers from off­shore oil plat­forms Wed­nes­day as hur­ri­cane Chris ad­vanced to­ward At­lantic Canada.

The Cat­e­gory 2 storm, which was churn­ing out winds in ex­cess of 155 km/ h, was ex­pected to track south of Nova Sco­tia early Thurs­day be­fore pos­si­bly mak­ing land­fall in east­ern New­found­land later in the day.

ExxonMo­bil said in a state­ment that an un­spec­i­fied num­ber of nonessen­tial em­ploy­ees was taken off the Sable Off­shore En­ergy fa­cil­i­ties, which are near Sable Is­land, about 300 km south­east of Hal­i­fax.

“We con­tinue to mon­i­tor, but based on cur­rent fore­casts we do not ex­pect the storm to af­fect our off­shore op­er­a­tions,” ExxonMo­bil spokesman Merle MacIsaac said in an email, re­fer­ring to the Sable project. He said they typ­i­cally have about 150 peo­ple at the com­bined fa­cil­i­ties, with about 90 per­son­nel re­main­ing off­shore af­ter the re­movals.

BP Canada also said it has dis­con­nected and moved the West Aquarius ex­plo­ration drilling rig.

Stacy O’Rourke, spokes­woman with the Canada-Nova Sco­tia Off­shore Pe­tro­leum Board, said it’s not un­com­mon for op­er­a­tors to re­move staff from their work sites and that they are re­quired to have con­tin­gency plans in place for ad­verse weather con­di­tions.

“It’s not un­usual at all,” she said. “Safety is para­mount, so as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure these steps were taken.”

En­vi­ron­ment Canada says the storm will steer clear of Nova Sco­tia and veer to­ward New­found­land be­fore it is down­graded to a post­trop­i­cal storm late Thurs­day.

Hur­ri­cane Chris is ex­pected to bring heavy rain­fall and strong winds to the south­east­ern half of New­found­land. It said to­tal rain­fall amounts could reach 70 mil­lime­tres, with the high­est rain­fall rates ex­pected west of the Avalon penin­sula.

Ocean swells along the south­ern coast of New­found­land are ex­pected to reach eight me­tres in some ar­eas, while the At­lantic coast of Nova Sco­tia could also re­ceive swells of up to four me­tres.

In the United States, fore­cast­ers said Wed­nes­day that beach­go­ers on the At­lantic coast should be wary of heavy surf and life-threat­en­ing rip-cur­rents as Chris swirled off the U.S. East Coast.

NOAA HANDOUT

This satel­lite im­age ob­tained from the the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion shows hur­ri­cane Chris off the U.S. East coast on Tues­day.

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