12 Gulf of Mexico Platforms Evacuated as Ian Rages On

12 Gulf of Mexico Platforms Evacuated as Ian Rages On
As of 5am EDT on September 28, Hurricane Ian had maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) revealed Tuesday that it has activated its hurricane response team and that it is monitoring offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico as they evacuate platforms and rigs in response to Hurricane Ian.

Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30am CDT on September 27, personnel have been evacuated from a total of 12 production platforms, BSEE outlined. The figure represents 2.3 percent of the 521 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, the organization highlighted.

The BSEE also pointed out that personnel have been evacuated from two non-dynamically positioned rigs, which it said is equivalent to 15.38 percent of the 13 rigs of this type currently operating in the Gulf, and revealed that a total of four dynamically positioned rigs have moved off location out of the storm’s path as a precaution, which it said represents 21 percent of the 19 DP rigs currently operating in the Gulf.

From operator reports, BSEE estimates that approximately 11 percent of the current oil production and 8.56 percent of the 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, the organization noted, adding that shut-in production information included in these reports is based on the amount of oil and gas the operator expected to produce that day.

“As part of the evacuation process, personnel activate the applicable shut-in procedure, which can frequently be accomplished from a remote location,” BSEE said in a statement posted on its website.

“This involves closing safety valves located below the surface of the ocean floor to prevent the release of oil or gas, effectively shutting in production from wells in the Gulf 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,” BSEE added.

“After the storm has passed, facilities will be inspected. Once all standard checks have been completed, production from undamaged facilities will be brought back online immediately. Facilities sustaining damage may take longer to bring back online,” BSEE went on to note.

In a market note sent to Rigzone late Tuesday, Rystad Energy Senior Analyst Fabian Ronningen said Hurricane Ian was expected to crash into Florida’s gulf coast on Wednesday or Thursday this week and warned it could lead to large-scale power outages across the state. 

“Florida’s two largest electric utilities have mobilized up to 22,000 workers to address the expected outages,” Ronningen said in the note.

“Damage to the energy system is also expected in the neighboring states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The storm will undoubtedly lead to a drop in power demand in the region, but as is the case with all natural disasters, the exact impact - both from a humanitarian and infrastructure standpoint - are nearly impossible to predict,” he added.

As of 5am EDT on September 28, Hurricane Ian had maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour and a 10 mile per hour north-northeast trajectory, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center.

To contact the author, email andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com


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