WeatherTracking the Tropics


Updates on Gulf evacuations, reboardings

Posted at 1:28 PM, Jul 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-15 14:28:37-04

Things are getting back to normal in the Gulf of Mexico's oil and gas activities.

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 is no longer impacting Gulf of Mexico oil and gas activities.

Here are the stats as of today:

Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 CDT today, personnel have been evacuated from a total of 267 production platforms, 39.91 percent of the 669 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 been evacuated from 10 rigs (non-dynamically positioned “DP” rigs), equivalent to 47.6 percent of the 21 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.

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 69.08 percent of the current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in, which equates to 1,305,558 barrels of oil per day. It is also estimated that approximately 60.58 percent of the natural gas production, or 1,684.20 million cubic feet 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.

After 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. BSEE will continue to update the evacuation and shut-in statistics at 1:00 p.m. CDT each day as appropriate.