Storm Ingrid forms in Gulf of Mexico, Pemex unaffected

by Reuters
Friday, 13 September 2013 16:29 GMT

MEXICO CITY, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Ingrid, the ninth storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, has formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Friday, although oil operations were not affected.

An official with state oil monopoly Pemex said the company was closely monitoring Ingrid, but has not ordered any nearby installations to be closed.

On the company's Twitter page, Pemex said "preventative actions" were being taken to safeguard "personnel, platforms, ships and installations," but did not give further details.

The storm prompted partial or complete closures of Mexico's three major oil export terminals. However, while oil export hubs often shut intermittently during the hurricane season, export deliveries are usually only affected if the closures are prolonged.

Cayo Arcas, a terminal that was closed on Thursday, reopened on Friday, while Dos Bocas, another terminal, remained closed. The port of Coatzacoalcos, meanwhile, was closed to small boats, but open to larger ships, according to the transport and communications ministry.

Ingrid was about 175 miles (280 km) southeast of Tuxpan in Mexico, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph), the NHC said.

Pemex's most productive oil fields as well as Dos Bocas and Cayo Arcas are all located in the vicinity of the storm, in the shallow waters of the Bay of Campeche.

The company's Lazaro Cardenas refinery in Veracruz state is closest to the projected path of Ingrid.

The storm was expected to move very close to the coast of Mexico during the next couple of days, and additional strengthening was forecast during the next 48 hours, the NHC said.

Ingrid was expected to dump between 10 inches (25.4 cm) and 25 inches (63.5 cm) of rainfall over a large part of eastern Mexico, which could cause rivers to swell and provoke flash floods and mud slides, according to the center.

The Mexican government has issued a storm warning north to Cabo Rojo in Veracruz.

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