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A tropical storm, Karen, has formed in the Gulf of Mexico spurring oil companies to begin evacuating all non-essential Personnel.

Computer data has shown that Tropical Storm Karen is capable of winds up to 60 miles per hour and is likely to strengthen to hurricane status over the next 48 hours.

Current forecasts are saying the storm is set to travel across the central Gulf of Mexico toward coastal Louisiana or Mississippi.

BP has stated they have began the process of securing offshore facilities and drilling rigs and evacuation operations for non-essential personnel were underway at Thunder Horse, Na Kika, Atlantis and Mad Dog.

BP also said they were suspending all oil and natural gas production in the eastern Gulf of Mexico as they continuing to closely monitor the storm.

Other companies who have stated they will be evacuating non-essential personnel in the eastern and central Gulf include Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Murphy Oil Corp. and Apache Corp.

More information on Tropical Storm Karen can be found at the National Weather Service.