Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico are re-boarding platforms and rigs, and restoring production following Tropical Storm Debby. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Hurricane Response Team is monitoring the operators’ activities.
The team will continue to work with offshore operators and other state and federal agencies until operations return to normal. This will be the final statistics update for Tropical Storm Debby.
Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 a.m. CDT yesterday, personnel remain evacuated from a total of ten production platforms, equivalent to 1.6 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
Of the 70 rigs currently operating in the Gulf, none remain evacuated. 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.
From operator reports, it is estimated that approximately 3.21 percent of the current daily oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in. It is also estimated that approximately 3.64 percent of the current daily natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in. The production percentages are calculated using information submitted by offshore operators in daily reports. Shut-in production information included in these reports is 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.
Press Release, June 28, 2012