More offshore platforms evacuated due to hurricane Harvey

Tropical storm Harvey; Image: BSEE

Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico have evacuated 105 offshore platforms in response to tropical storm Harvey.

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said that, based on data from offshore operator reports submitted at 18:30 CET on Sunday, personnel was evacuated from a total of 105 production platforms, 14.25 percent of the 737 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

This is 19 platforms more compared to the Friday count.

Further according to the BSEE, personnel was also evacuated from five non-DP rigs, which is 50 percent of the ten rigs of this type currently operating in the Gulf.

One DP rig has moved off location out of the storm’s path as a precaution. As far as DP rigs go, there are 21 operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

As part of the evacuation process, personnel activated the shut-in procedure on the platforms. This involves closing the sub-surface safety valves located below the surface of the ocean floor to prevent the release of oil or gas. According to the BSEE, the shut-in valves functioned 100 percent of the time during previous hurricane seasons.

From operator reports, it is estimated that approximately 21.64 percent of the current oil production of 1,75 million barrels of oil per day in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in, which equates to 378,633 bopd.

It is also estimated that approximately 25.71 percent of the natural gas production of 3,220 million cubic feet per day, or 827.89 million cubic feet per day in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in. The production percentages are calculated using information submitted by offshore operators in daily reports which are based on the amount of oil and gas the operator expected to produce that day.

The shut-in production figures, therefore, are estimates, which BSEE compares to historical production reports to ensure the estimates follow a logical pattern.

The BSEE added that the facilities would be inspected after the storm passes. 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.

The number of evacuated platforms and rigs is increasing since the BSEE said on Friday that oil and gas companies evacuated workers from 86 production platforms and five rigs.

Also, The National Hurricane Center said on Sunday that Harvey was producing catastrophic and life-threatening flooding and there are flash flood emergencies in effect for portions of southeastern Texas. NASA’s satellite imagery taken 12 hours apart revealed that Harvey remains almost stationary.

American energy corporation ConocoPhillips said via social media that, due to severe weather conditions caused by hurricane Harvey, all of the company’s Houston-area offices would be closed on Monday and Tuesday, August 28 and 29.

Oil major ExxonMobil decided on Friday to allocate $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 Harvey. The company also made provisions to ensure that emergency responders and other essential service providers requesting fuel are given priority.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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