Oil and gas production companies Jadestone Energy and Woodside have been forced to pause operations offshore Australia due to severe weather conditions related to Tropical Cyclone Veronica.

The cyclone is one of two tropical cyclones to hit Australia’s coast in the last week, with Cyclone Trevor having made landfall on the Cape York Peninsula on Tuesday 19 March.

Woodside is closely monitoring the impact of Cyclone Veronica, which was located approximately 95km northeast from the Western Australian city of Karratha at 5:00 am AWST on Monday. Operations on Jadestone’s Stag platform were paused due to the hurricane.

Jadestone Energy president and CEO Paul Blakely said: “The safety of our people is paramount in our business and our procedures require us to shut-down operations and de-man the facility during severe storm conditions.

“Tropical storms are expected in the area in December and through February and we plan for two to three such weather-related events annually, which apply equally to drilling as well as production operations.

“Though this storm is later than usual, our response in such circumstances is clear.”

According to Jadestone weather conditions are already easing, with drilling expected to resume once it is safe for personnel to return offshore. Following this return, the well will take approximately 34 days to drill.

Woodside has evacuated all personnel from its offshore production platforms, and is operating the Karratha Gas Plant and Pluto LNG Plant in Western Australia using “essential staff only.” In a statement, Woodside said: “At this time, the safety and welfare of our people, their families and our communities is our highest priority.

“Once the immediate risks have passed, Woodside’s focus will remain the ongoing welfare of our people, their families and our communities, and the safe return to full operations of our production facilities.

“We will also engage with local authorities to understand what assistance we can provide to the community.”