Gulf Workers Evacuate Offshore Facilities, Again

HOUSTON (AP) - Oil companies are evacuating their offshore facilities in the western Gulf of Mexico as Hurricane Ike approaches.

Ike is compounding earlier closures because of Hurricane Gustav. The new storm is expected to make landfall in south Texas this weekend and refineries along the coast are being secured. Exxon, Mobil and Shell are among the companies evacuating their workers from oil platforms.

Hurricane Gustav caused the shut-down of a dozen refineries about a week ago. And it halted almost all oil and natural gas production in the Gulf.

But the federal agency that overseas offshore activity says Ike has a "favorable path" that will most likely miss the Gulf areas with the most production facilities. Instead, refining complexes along the Texas coast seems more at risk.

Gulf oil production stands at about 23 percent today, up slightly from yesterday. But that figure could drop as producers continue to shut down facilities for Ike.

So far, Ike and Gustav have not caused significant increases in energy prices.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)