BSEE Hurricane Response Team monitors offshore oil & gas operators' activities in Gulf of Mexico, post TS 'Isaac'.
From operator reports, it is estimated that approximately 71.50 percent of the current daily oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in. It is also estimated that approximately 55.62 percent of the current daily natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Hurricane Response Team is activated and monitoring the operators’ activities. The team will continue to work with offshore operators and other state and federal agencies until operations return to normal.
Oil and gas operators continue to assess their facilities and are submitting damage reports to BSEE as required. Reports indicate mainly minor damage at this point.
Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted, personnel remain evacuated on a total of 131 production platforms, equivalent to 21.98 percent of the 596 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 remain evacuated from 18 rigs, equivalent to 23.68 percent of the 76 rigs currently operating in the Gulf. Rigs can include several types of self-contained offshore drilling facilities including jackup rigs, submersibles and semisubmersibles.
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.