WASHINGTON — Oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico braced Friday for Tropical Storm Isaac as it barreled toward Haiti on a northwest track that threatened offshore operations.


BP said it was evacuating its Thunder Horse platform, the world's largest offshore production and drilling facility.

"With forecasts indicating the storm could develop into a hurricane and enter the eastern side of the Gulf in coming days, we are taking additional steps to respond," the British oil giant said.

The facility has a capacity of 250,000 barrels per day of oil and 200 million cubic feet per day of natural gas.

Royal Dutch Shell said it was preparing for evacuations of non-essential personnel from platforms and had suspended some drilling operations but that no production had been impacted.

Apache Corporation, based in Houston, Texas, said it was closely monitoring Isaac and had moved non-essential personnel in the eastern Gulf of Mexico out of the way of Isaac.

The Gulf of Mexico is the hub of US offshore energy production, accounting for 23 percent of US crude oil output and 7.0 percent of natural gas production.

Photo of Thunder Horse oil platform by Andyminicooper (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons