MMS Updates Damage Assessment from Hurricane Ivan

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) continues to monitor the progress made by the oil and gas industry in returning to normal levels of operation in the Gulf of Mexico. About 475,000 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) and about 1.8 billion cubic feet of gas per day (BCFPD) remain shut-in. Based on preliminary information supplied by operators, perhaps as much as 150,000 BOPD and 1.0 BCF/D of the shut-in production may be back on line by the end of October. For the longer term, about 96% of the normal daily GOM production, which is approximately 1.7 million BOPD and approximately 12.3 BCFPD of gas, should be back on line within 6 months.

MMS Gulf of Mexico Regional Director Chris Oynes said, "While significant production from Gulf of Mexico facilities remains shut in due mostly to pipeline damage there is a good likelihood that significant portions of this may be able to return to production in a few months".

According to Oynes, "The companies are engaged in around the clock repair operations and only bad weather is slowing down further progress. For example, the tropical storm Matthew in the Gulf area today is stalling operations." Oynes noted that "the operators are now starting to approach MMS with alternative ways to return to production while pipeline repairs are continuing. MMS expects that some companies will soon request approval for modifications to their past plans to allow offloading of production from a platform to a large tanker and then further offload the production into a shuttle tanker to take to delivery points onshore. This will help restore production ahead of pipeline repairs. MMS will carefully consider the technical and environmental merits and risks of any proposals filed, attach appropriate protective measures, and will closely coordinate the review of all applications with the appropriate government agencies including the U.S. Coast Guard."

During the past several weeks industry has continued to assess damage to their Gulf of Mexico facilities caused by Hurricane Ivan. Of the 4,000 structures and 33,000 miles of pipelines in the gulf, the MMS estimates that 150 platforms and 10,000 miles of pipelines were in the direct path of Hurricane Ivan. A substantial amount of the deferred production is directly attributable to damage that has occurred along pipeline routes rather than actual structural damage to the producing platforms. Pipelines in mud slide areas off the mouth of the Mississippi River experienced failures and will take a significant effort to locate and repair because the pipelines are buried by as much as 20 to 30 feet of mud. Overall, twelve large diameter pipelines (10" or larger) were damaged in Federal waters.

Because industry is still conducting underwater structural damage assessments with divers and Remotely Operated Vehicles, additional information could change the MMS damage summary.
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