Australian operator Santos has ceased production from its Ningaloo Vision floating production, storage and offloading vessel as Tropical Cyclone Damien intensifies off the West Australian coast.
A Santos spokesperson confirmed to Upstream on Friday the company had taken the precautionary measure to halt output at the floater, which handles production from the Van Gogh, Coniston and Novara fields.
“Santos is closely monitoring, and preparing for, Tropical Cyclone Damien off the north-west coast of Western Australia,” the spokesperson confirmed.
“As a precautionary measure due to the proximity and intensity of TC Damien, the Ningaloo Vision FPSO has ceased production. At this stage, our other operations have not been impacted.”
Woodside Petroleum's Karratha and Pluto liquefied natural gas plants lie in the direct path of Damien and a spokesperson confirmed on Friday it had started to evacuate some staff ahead of the cyclone's anticipated arrival.
"Woodside is taking the necessary precautions to safeguard our people and assets," she confirmed to Upstream.
"All non-essential personnel across our Karratha assets are departing work areas and we have secured all equipment on site. Safety of our people remains our highest priority."
The cyclone is also expected to track near Chevron’s Gorgon LNG project on Barrow Island, as well as Santos’ Veranus Island and Devil Creek gas plants.
Chevron’s Wheatstone LNG plant, near the town of Onslow, is not in the direct path of Damien, but lies on the edge of the current watch zone for the cyclone.
A Chevron spokesperson told Upstream on Thursday the company was monitoring the cyclone and taking necessary precautions as it bears down on the Pilbara coast.
Shell, amid power issues which had shut-in production and led to problems with amenities on board its Prelude floating LNG facility, also evacuated workers earlier this week before the system had the potential to impact transportation to and from the facility.
Damien is currently intensifying off the West Australian coast and, according to tracking from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), was about 315 kilometres off the coast of Karratha as of 11:00am local time.
Damien is currently classified as a category three cyclone and the BOM has warned of sustained winds of 120 kilometres per hour near the centre of the system, with wind gusts of up to 165 kilometres per hour.
The cyclone is anticipated to intensify into a category four system on Saturday, with the BOM warning of “very destructive” wind gusts of up to 230 kilometres per hour near the cyclone centre when it crosses the coast, which is expected to occur around 11:00am local time on Saturday.
In addition to the destructive winds, heavy rain is also expected to cause flooding in the Pilbara and Gascoyne as the cyclone moves inland over the weekend.