The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Hurricane Response Team is continuing to monitor offshore oil and gas operators as they re-board platforms and rigs in the Gulf of Mexico following the landfall of Tropical Storm Barry. The team will continue to work with offshore operators and other state and federal agencies until operations return to normal in federal waters and the storm no longer impacts Gulf of Mexico oil and gas activities.
Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 CDT Thursday, personnel have been evacuated from a total of 60 production platforms, 8.9% of the 669 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Personnel have been evacuated from 1 rig (non-dynamically positioned “DP” rigs), equivalent to 4.76% of the 21 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 18.78% of the current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in, which equates to almost 354,985 bbls. of oil per day. It is also estimated that approximately 18.68% of the natural gas production, or 519.3 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 multiple reports submitted of damage to heliport skirting, hand rails, and grating.
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.