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Petsec evacuates staff as hurricane approaches
Petsec evacuates staff as hurricane approaches

Australian explorer Petsec Energy has evacuated five people and shut two offshore gas platforms as Hurricane Issac sweeps through the Gulf of Mexico.

While Petsec's operations at Main Pass and Chandeleur offshore gas fields will stay closed for three to five days, the company says the category one storm is unlikely cause major damage.

Winds of up to 130kmh were affecting the region, but the intensity of the storm would decrease as it made landfall today, a company spokesman said from Lafayette, Louisiana.

Shares in the company, which is involved in oil and gas exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana, rose four per cent to 13 cents on Wednesday.

Chief executive Terry Fern said Petsec was continuing its technical evaluations of shale oil project areas in Canada and the United States.

"One has to be very select in the areas in which we go," Mr Fern told a briefing on Wednesday.

"We're becoming increasingly confident and I think you'll see as the company moves ahead with this shale oil strategy more quickly.

"Once we get some horizontal wells, you'll be hearing more from us."

The company wished to remain discrete about its progress as it seeks access to more land.

During the first half Petsec drilled a third well on the Marathon gas/condensate field, and a shale oil test well in Alberta, Canada.

Petsec on Tuesday said it expects to meet its full year production guidance for the full year of two billion cubic feet of gas equivalent (Bcfe).

Petsec posted a $US5.2 million ($A5.04 million) loss in the six months to June 30, after recording a $US31 million ($A30.02 million) profit in the previous corresponding period.

Net revenue after royalties was $US3.3 million ($A3.2 million), down 55 per cent from the previous corresponding period.