Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico are resuming normal operations following Tropical Storm Barry. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Hurricane Response Team monitoring the operators’ activities. The team will continue to work with offshore operators and other state and federal agencies until operations return to normal in federal waters. This is BSEE’s final update concerning Tropical Storm Barry.
Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 CDT July 20, personnel have been evacuated from a total of 20 production platforms, 2.99% of the 669 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Personnel have returned to all previously evacuated rigs of this type currently operating in the Gulf. Rigs can include several types including jackup rigs, platform rigs, all submersibles and moored semisubmersibles.
None of the 20 DP rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico are off location. They have all returned to pre-storm positioning. DP rigs maintain their location while conducting well operations by using thrusters and propellers, the rigs are not moored to the seafloor; therefore, they can move off location in a relatively short time frame. Personnel remain onboard and return to the location once the storm has passed.
As part of the evacuation process, personnel activate applicable shut-in procedures, 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. 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 3.32% of the current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in, which equates to almost 62,670 bbls. of oil per day. It is also estimated that approximately 7.35% of the natural gas production, or 204.3 million cu. ft. per day 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.
There were no additional reports of damage.
Although the storm has passed, facilities will continue to be inspected. Once all standard checks have been completed, production from undamaged facilities will be brought back on line immediately. Facilities sustaining damage may take longer to bring back on line.