Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico are evacuating platforms and rigs in the path of Hurricane Isaac.
Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement as of 11:30 a.m. CDT yesterday, personnel have been evacuated from a total of 503 production platforms, equivalent to 84.4 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 have been evacuated from 49 rigs, equivalent to 64.47 percent of the 76 rigs currently operating in the Gulf.
From operator reports, it is estimated that approximately 93.28 percent of the current daily oil production and 66.7 percent of the current daily natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in.
BSEE has said that after the hurricane 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.
According to the National Hurricane Center Hurricane Isaac is producing dangerous storm surge in excess of 10 feet in some locations as it moves slowly inland. A prolonged period of strong winds and heavy rainfall are expected over a large portion of the northern Gulf Coast. The threat of heavy rainfall and flooding is also expected to spread inland over the lower Mississippi valley region during the next few days.
Offshore Energy Today Staff, August 29, 2012; Image: NASA