Oil Industry Revamping Rigs to Withstand Hurricanes

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
As they struggle to restore oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, industry executives are mapping potential upgrades in equipment and operations to minimize future storm-related stoppages, according to a USA Today report. Drilling specialists are considering adding additional anchors to deepwater rigs to hold them in place even amid hurricane-driven waves. The standard rig design using eight mooring points could be increased to 12 or 16. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed five drilling rigs in deep waters off Louisiana and Texas and caused 19 others to break free of their moorings, said the report. The federal government's Minerals Management Service will convene a Washington meeting to discuss deepwater rig design in light of lessons learned from the recent hurricanes. The design changes being eyed are unlikely to present insurmountable technical obstacles. But they will add to the time required to shift rigs between drilling jobs, exacerbating a global rig shortage. Source: USA Today
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