Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Operators Back in Business
Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico have re-boarded platforms and rigs and are restoring production following Tropical Storm Hermine, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Hurricane Response Team is reporting.
The team if monitoring the operators’ activities in the gulf and will continue to work with offshore operators and other state and federal agencies until operations return to normal.
Based on data from offshore operator reports there are no remaining evacuated production platforms. There is a total of 750 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.
Personnel have returned to all 11 rigs currently operating in the gulf. Rigs can include several types of offshore drilling facilities including jackup rigs, platform rigs, all submersibles and moored semisubmersibles.
The three dynamically positioned rigs that had previously been moved off have returned to location. There are currently 19 dynamically positioned rigs operating in the gulf. Dynamically positioned rigs maintain location while conducting well operations by using thrusters and propellers. As the rigs are not moored to the seafloor, they can move off location in a relatively short time-frame. Personnel remain on-board and return to the location once the storm 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. During previous hurricane seasons, the shut-in valves functioned 100 percent of the time, efficiently shutting in production from wells on the Outer Continental Shelf 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, it is estimated that 12.04 percent of the current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in. It is also estimated that 6.74 percent of the natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in.
Now that the storm has passed, facilities will 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. No damage reports have been submitted.
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