BSEE Hurricane Response Team continues to monitor Gulf of Mexico - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

BSEE Hurricane Response Team continues to monitor Gulf of Mexico oil, gas activities

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Photo Courtesy MGN Online Photo Courtesy MGN Online

Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico are beginning to re-board platforms and rigs following Tropical Storm Nate. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Hurricane Response Team is monitoring the operators’ activities. The team will continue to work with offshore operators and other state and federal agencies until Gulf of Mexico oil and gas operations return to normal.

Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 CDT today, personnel remain evacuated from a total of 142 production platforms, which is 19.27 percent of the 737 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 also remain evacuated from 8 drilling rigs (non-dynamically positioned (DP) rigs), equivalent to 40 percent of the 20 rigs of this type currently operating in the Gulf. Rigs can include several types of offshore drilling facilities including jackup rigs, platform rigs, all submersibles and moored semisubmersibles.

Seven DP rigs are still off location out of the hurricane’s path as a precaution. This number represents 38.9 percent of the 18 DP rigs currently operating in the Gulf. 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. Personnel remain on-board and return to the location once the storm has passed.

 As part of any evacuation process, personnel activate the 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. 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 approximately 85.09 percent of the current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico remains shut-in, which equates to 1,489,101 barrels of oil per day. It is also estimated that approximately 64.78 percent of the natural gas production, or 2,085.98 million cubic feet per day in the Gulf of Mexico is 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.  

As the storm has passed, operators will continue to re-board and inspect their facilities. Once all standard checks have been completed, production from undamaged facilities will be brought back on line immediately. Any facilities sustaining damage may take longer to bring back on line. Currently, no damages have been reported. BSEE will continue to update the evacuation and shut-in statistics at 1:00 p.m. CDT each day as appropriate.  


of GOM







DP Rigs



Total shut-in

Percentage of GOM Production





 2,085 (MMCFD)


This survey information is reflective of 41 companies’ reports as of 11:30 a.m. CDT today. 

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