Kinder Morgan Prepares to Close Florida Pipeline System Ahead of Hurricane Idalia

HOUSTON (Reuters) — U.S. oil producer Chevron on Tuesday said it evacuated staff from three U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil production platforms while Kinder Morgan planned to shut a petroleum pipeline, as the energy companies braced for Hurricane Idalia.

Hurricane Idalia strengthened over the Gulf of Mexico en route to Florida's Gulf Coast, forcing evacuations in low-lying coastal areas expected to be swamped when the powerful storm hits on Wednesday.

Kinder Morgan's Central Florida Pipeline (CFPL) system consists of a 110-mile, 16-inch diameter petroleum pipeline transporting gasoline and batched denatured ethanol, and an 85-mile, 10-inch diameter petroleum line that moves diesel and jet fuel, according to the company website.

Chevron, the third-largest oil producer in the U.S. Gulf said non-essential personnel were withdrawn from its Blind Faith and Petronius platforms, and all staff removed from its Genesis platform. Blind Faith and Petronius are up to 160 miles (257 km) southeast of New Orleans in the central Gulf of Mexico.

Production was continuing at Chevron-operated Gulf of Mexico oil and gas facilities. The Genesis platform, about 150 miles (241 km) southwest of New Orleans, is being decommissioned, a spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Kinder Morgan shut its Port Manatee, Port Sutton and Tampaplex terminals, which handle commodities such as fertilizers, scrap metal, pet coke and coal.

The company also said it planned to shut its Tampa refined products terminal and its Central Florida Pipeline System later in the day.

"Our Orlando refined products facility remains operational at this time, but we are closely monitoring the storm’s progress to prepare for any impacts," Kinder Morgan said.

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