NEW YORK (Reuters) - Despite a tropical storm and a tropical depression spinning in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, no storms currently threaten the U.S. oil and natural gas production in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Tropical Depression 13, which is close to tropical storm strength (winds 39 to 73 mph), however, could disrupt operations in the Cantarell Complex of Mexican oil fields beneath the Bay of Campeche in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico.
The Cantarell Complex is one of the most productive oil fields in the world, supplying about two-thirds of Mexico’s crude oil output.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center expects the depression to strengthen into a tropical storm within 24 hours.
The NHC does not however expect TD-13 to strengthen into a hurricane (winds over 74 mph) before moving inland in central Mexico and dissipating over the next 72 hours.
An Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft will investigate the system this afternoon.
The NHC will name the next tropical storm Lorenzo.
TD-13, which is packing maximum sustained winds near 35 miles per hour, was located about 205 miles east-southeast of Tampico, Mexico, and about 155 miles east of Tuxpan, Mexico at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT), the NHC said in a report.
The depression is drifting southward near 2 mph. The NHC expected the depression to move slowly and erratically during the next 24 hours.
The Center will issue another advisory on TD-13 at 5 p.m.
Tropical Storm Karen, meanwhile, is near hurricane strength over the eastern North Atlantic but is unlikely to pose any threat to land over the next five days, the weather models show.
It is too soon for the weather models to show whether Karen will ever reach land in North America.
The NHC expects Karen, which is packing winds near 70 mph, to gain hurricane strength over the next 12 hours before it weakens back into a strong tropical storm in about four days.
The center of Karen was located about 1,225 miles east of the Windward Islands (Dominica, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, the Grenadines and Grenada).
The storm is moving toward the west-northwest near 13 mph, the NHC said.
The Center will issue another advisory on Karen at 5 p.m.
Near Key West, Florida, the NHC said a weak area of low pressure has formed that “has the potential for some development over the next day or two as it moves slowly toward the northeast over South Florida and the adjacent Atlantic.”
Three of four weather models show the system will cross Florida and move into the Atlantic over the next few days. The other model however shows the storm will start to cross Florida but turn west into the Gulf of Mexico.
Meanwhile, in the far eastern Atlantic, the NHC pointed to a couple of tropical waves “have the potential for some development as they move westward over the next few days.”