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PTTEP suspends offshore ops ahead of tropical storm Pabuk

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Thailand’s state-owned oil company PTTEP has suspended operations and removed staff from the Greater Bongkot North and Greater Bongkot South offshore production platforms sitting in the path of tropical storm Pabuk entering the Gulf of Thailand.

Following the offshore weather report regarding the tropical storm Pabuk entering the Gulf of Thailand, PTTEP established a 24-hour monitoring team to observe the situation for the safety of offshore operations in the Gulf of Thailand.

Because the Greater Bongkot North and Greater Bongkot South production platforms were located in the direct path of the tropical storm, PTTEP said on Wednesday that it temporarily suspended operations at both platforms and demobilized all staff back ashore at the Songkhla province.

However, production at Arthit platform continues under the company’s safety measures to minimize impacts on the natural gas supply to the country.

PTTEP added that it liaised with related government agencies and organizations regarding the situation. Since December 31, 2018, the company temporarily suspended exploration and maintenance activities, evacuated some staff, and mobilized drilling rigs and vessels to unaffected areas.

“PTTEP’s primary concern in all incidents of this nature is for the welfare of employees and people involved. Our immediate and urgent task is to do everything in our power to ensure the safety and well-being of staff. We have prepared both proactive and reactive contingency plans in accordance with the international standard to deal with emergency cases to ensure prompt, effective and most importantly, safest actions,” the company stated.

“Giant catfish”

Pabuk, translated to giant catfish in Lao, was first declared a tropical depression but escalated to a storm which the media labeled as the largest one in 30 years outside the monsoon season.

According to reports by the Guardian, between 30,000 to 50,000 tourists have left Thai resort islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Tao since the New Year’s Eve countdown parties ahead of Pabuk which is set to bring heavy rains, wind, and seven-meter waves.

The islands emptied out since Wednesday as tourists packed onto ferries bound for the southern Thai mainland, with swimming banned, and boats set to suspend services.

The Guardian also said in its report that the storm was set to hit Koh Phangan and Koh Tao as well as Koh Samui on Friday night, before cutting into the mainland. Although Pabuk was blowing winds of 104 kmph, it is unlikely to intensify into a full-blown typhoon, according to forecasters.

The authorities were also preparing shelters for the remaining several thousand tourists on the islands who decided to wait out the storm.

Media reports also stated that the strong currents from the oncoming storm already took the life of a 56-year-old Russian. He drowned on Wednesday after ignoring warnings not to go into the sea.

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