Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 a.m. CDT today, personnel are evacuated from a total of 51 production platforms, equivalent to 7.4% of the 694 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Production platforms are the structures located offshore from which oil and natural gas are produced.
There are no longer any evacuated rigs in the Gulf.
From the operators’ reports, it is estimated that approximately 14.9% of the oil production in the Gulf is shut-in. As of June 2008, estimated oil production from the Gulf of Mexico is 1.3 million barrels of oil per day. It is also estimated that approximately 20.9% of the natural gas production in the Gulf is shut-in. As of June 2008, estimated natural gas production from the Gulf of Mexico was 7.0 billion cubic feet of gas per day. Since that time, gas production from the Independence Hub facility has increased and current gas production from the Gulf is estimated at 7.4 billion cubic feet of gas per day.
As part of the evacuation process, personnel activate the shut-in procedure, which can also be accomplished from a remote location. This involves closing the safety valves located below the surface of the ocean to prevent the release of oil or gas. During Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the shut-in valves functioned 100 percent of the time, efficiently closing in production from wells and resulting in no major spills from the Outer Continental Shelf. Shutting-in oil and gas production is a standard procedure conducted by industry for safety and environmental reasons.