NEW ORLEANS — Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has activated the Hurricane Response Team and is monitoring offshore oil and gas operations on platforms and rigs in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of Hurricane Delta. The team works with offshore operators and other state and federal agencies until operations return to normal and the hurricane is no longer a threat to Gulf of Mexico oil and gas activities.
Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 CDT today, personnel have been evacuated from a total of 70 production platforms, 10.89 percent of the 643 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Production platforms are the structures located offshore from which oil and natural gas are produced. Unlike drilling rigs, which typically move from location to location, production facilities remain in the same location throughout a project’s duration.
No personnel are evacuated from rigs (non-dynamically positioned), currently operating in the Gulf. Rigs can include several types of offshore drilling facilities including jackup rigs, platform rigs, all submersibles and moored semisubmersibles.
All dynamically positioned rigs that moved off location for Hurricane Delta are back on location in the Gulf. Dynamically positioned rigs maintain their location while conducting well operations by using thrusters and propellers. These rigs are not moored to the seafloor; therefore, they can move off location in a relatively short time frame. Personnel remain on-board and return to the location once the hurricane has passed.
As part of the evacuation process, personnel activate the applicable shut-in procedure, which can frequently be accomplished from a remote location. This involves closing the sub-surface safety valves located below the surface of the ocean floor to prevent the release of oil or gas, effectively shutting in production from wells in the Gulf and protecting the marine and coastal environments. Shutting-in oil and gas production is a standard procedure conducted by industry for safety and environmental reasons.
From operator reports, BSEE estimates that approximately 43.57 percent of the current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in. BSEE estimates that approximately 29.86 percent of the natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in. The production percentages are calculated using information submitted by offshore operators in daily reports. Shut-in production information included in these reports is based on the amount of oil and gas the operator expected to produce that day. The shut-in production figures therefore are estimates, which BSEE compares to historical production reports to ensure the estimates follow a logical pattern.
After the hurricane has passed, facilities will be inspected. Once all standard checks have been completed, production from undamaged facilities will be brought back online immediately. Facilities sustaining damage may take longer to bring back online.
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BSEE will continue to update the evacuation and shut-in statistics at 1:00 p.m. CDT each day as appropriate. This survey is reflective of 37 companies’ reports as of 11:30 CDT today.