Gustav's Winds No More Than a Sigh of Relief for GOM Operators

Much to the relief of production operators in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Gustav has caused less damage than feared to assets located offshore Texas and Louisiana. The hurricane has since pushed onward, evading the central hub of the GOM's production platforms, which were shut-in for precautionary measures against Gustav's originally cited Category 3 winds.

Gustav instead barreled into rural, southern Louisiana as a Category 2 storm with winds of 110-mph, but soon diminished into a Category 1 storm as it continued onward to east Texas. By Monday, Gustav's winds lessened to a sustained 60-mph, and the hurricane was downgraded to its current status as a tropical depression, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Meanwhile, operators in the Gulf are evaluating their assets and personnel to ensure safety as a first priority.

MMS had reported that personnel were evacuated from a total of 632 production platforms and that 100% of oil production and 95.4% of natural gas production were shut-in, which accounts for an estimated total of 1.3 million bopd and 7.4 billion cubic feet of gas per day.

The Gulf's production levels have not resumed to normal output at this time, but are expected to restart and ramp-up within the week.  

Shell noted that it has implemented an employee check-in system to account for all staff and has closed its New Orleans CBD office through Wednesday. Production remains shut-in at this time, but the Company has commenced limited offshore redeployment to select assets in its East operations on Tuesday morning. Complete production ramp-up could take three and five days.

As of 4:30 pm, September 1, 2008, Exxon Mobil advised that gross production of approximately 37,000 barrels of oil and 600 million cubic feet a day of natural gas remains shut-in. ConocoPhillips has also continued to monitor its production facilities, and has reported that its Magnolia platform, which was shut-in due to scheduled maintenance before the storm, has not sustained any significant damage.

As of 7:00 pm, yesterday, ConocoPhillips reported that all production in its South Louisiana asset area was shut-in and all platforms secured. Moreover, all of the Company's personnel were evacuated.

Anadarko also stressed that its eight operated production platforms in the Gulf have remained shut-in and all personnel evacuated until a fly-over assessment has been completed today. Pre shut-in levels for Anadarko were more than 150,000 BOE/d of net production from the Gulf of Mexico. 

Read more on preparations for Gustav in Rigzone's Special Coverage Gearing Up for Gustav.