Oil major BP said that it started to evacuate four offshore US Gulf of Mexico oil platforms to secure facilities and ensure the safety of its staff as tropical storm Zeta ‘sprang up’ in the Caribbean Sea.

Zeta is the 27th named storm of this year’s Atlantic Hurricane season, Reuters reported.

According to the news agency, BP is evacuating workers from its Atlantis, Mad Dog, Na Kika, and Thunder Horse platforms.

In a press statement, BP stated: “BP is closely monitoring tropical storm Zeta in the Caribbean Sea to ensure the safety of our personnel and operations in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. With forecasts indicating the storm will move across the Central and/or Northeastern Gulf of Mexico in the next few days, we are taking steps to respond.

“BP has begun securing its offshore facilities and evacuating personnel from our four offshore platforms. Safety is our top priority and we will continue to monitor weather conditions closely to determine next steps.”

According to the US National Hurricane Center, Zeta is forecast to be at or near hurricane strength before it nears Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on 26 October.

Of the total US crude oil production, Gulf of Mexico offshore oil production accounts for nearly 17%.

In August, the US oil and gas exports were severely interrupted by Hurricane Laura, which bore down on the Gulf of Mexico and closed most of the oil production in the region.