Hurricane Harvey prompts oil firms to evacuate 86 platforms

This visible image of Hurricane Harvey taken from NOAA’s GOES East satellite on Aug. 25 at 10:07 a.m. EDT (1407 UTC) clearly showed the storm’s eye as the storm nears landfall in the southeastern coast of Texas. Credits: NASA/NOAA GOES Project

Hurricane Harvey, seen as one of the strongest hurricanes in the U.S. in the last twelve years, has forced offshore oil companies to evacuate workers from 86 offshore platforms.

According to info by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) on, as of 11:30 Friday, oil and gas companies had evacuated offshore workers from a total of 86 production platforms, 11.67 percent of the 737 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Also, personnel have been evacuated from four rigs (non-dynamically positioned (DP) rig), equivalent to 40 percent of the 10 rigs of this type currently operating in the Gulf.  One DP rigs have moved off location out of the storm’s path as a precaution.

Oil giant Shell said Friday that Thursday, August 24th, approximately 160 workers were returned to shore after the Perdido production spar was safely shut in.

“The Enchilada and Salsa platforms were also shut in Thursday, and a portion of the crew were brought in to shore today. A small crew will stay on site at Enchilada Salsa to ensure the safe operation of the facility’s pipeline infrastructure, which is currently being used to transport oil and gas from Shell’s Auger production hub to shore,” Shell said.

Anadarko Petroleum’s facilities at Boomvang, Gunnison, Lucius and Nansen remained shut in on Friday and all personnel were removed from those locations in the western Gulf.

“We will not begin returning personnel nor restart production until the hurricane has passed and it is safe to do so. Additionally, we have shut in production at our operated Constitution, Heidelberg, and Holstein platforms in the eastern portion of the Gulf due to shut ins at third-party pipelines. We will continue to closely monitor the weather conditions and are prepared to remove additional personnel as necessary to ensure their safety,” Anadarko said on Friday.

“Approximately 21.55 percent of the current oil production of 1,750,000 barrels of oil per day in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in, which equates to 377,117 barrels of oil per day. It is also estimated that approximately 23.24 percent of the natural gas production of 3,220 million cubic feet per day, or 748 million cubic feet per day in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in,” BSEE said in its Friday update.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Friday that Harvey was making landfall, bringing life-threatening storm surge, rainfall, and wind hazards to portions of the Texas coast. Hurricane conditions were reported in the landfall area.

Weather.gov said that Hurricane Harvey officially made landfall just northeast of Corpus Christi on Friday night as a Category 4.

“Dangerous storm surge and extreme winds are impacting the Texas coast. Harvey will bring multiple days of heavy rainfall to a large part of Texas, increasing the likelihood of devastating inland flooding,” the website shared.

ExxonMobil on Friday said it was allocating $500,000 for contributions to regional Red Cross organizations along the U.S. Gulf Coast to assist with relief efforts in communities expected to be impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the residents of Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast communities currently in the path of Hurricane Harvey,” said Darren W. Woods, ExxonMobil chairman and chief executive officer. “We are monitoring the storm and working with the Red Cross to determine where best we can direct these resources to assist with preparation and relief efforts in the Gulf region. We hope our contributions will help provide comfort to our friends and neighbors in areas impacted by the storm.”

ExxonMobil has also made provisions to ensure that emergency responders and other essential service providers requesting fuel are given priority.

NHC said that catastrophic and life-threatening flooding was expected across the middle and upper Texas coast from heavy rainfall of 15 to 30 inches, with isolated amounts as high as 40 inches, through Wednesday.

As per the Friday update, maximum sustained winds had decreased to near 125 mph (205 km/h) with higher gusts. Harvey was also downgraded to a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

 

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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