Dennis is No Menace in GOM

Wednesday, July 13, 2005
By Larry Pearson

Hurricane Dennis, a 140 MPH hurricane roared through the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico July 8-9 but caused little damage to oil platforms, drill rigs or to the shipyards in its path. In contrast, the 140 MPH Hurricane Ivan that traveled through the same waters last fall, caused extensive damage to platforms, rigs and especially to underwater pipelines.

“It caused all of the worry, but resulted in none of the work of Ivan,” commented Dr. Joe Orgeron, chief technology officer for Montco Offshore,Inc a leading operator of lift boats.

Only one platform appeared to be damaged by Dennis’ winds. That was BP’s Thunder Horse platform located in Mississippi Canyon Block 778, 150 miles southeast of New Orleans. The platform was found to be listing 20-30 degrees and crews have been placed onboard the platform to begin pumping operations that will correct the list. ROV inspections showed no damage to the hull.

Thunder Horse was in a developmental stage and presently produces no hydrocarbons. The only problem that the hurricane produced was the drop in hydrocarbon production due to evacuation of the platforms and rigs prior to the hurricane’s arrival in the GOM. According to the Minerals Management Service 56 companies reported 359 platforms evacuated and 86 rigs evacuated.

These evacuations represent 44% of the 819 manned platforms and 64% of the 134 rigs currently operating in the GOM. The cumulative shut-in oil production for the July 8-11 period is approximately 4 million barrels or .74% of the yearly production of approximately 547.5 million barrels. On the natural gas side, shut in production from the same time period was 18.12 BCF or about .5% of annual production of 3.65 TCF.

Once the storm made landfall about 2:30 PM central daylight time at Navarre Beach, Fla. vessels began returning production crews to the rigs and platforms.

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