54 Production Platforms Destroyed in GOM
MMS estimates that from September 13, 2008 through September 14, 2008, approximately 1,450 oil and gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico were exposed to hurricane conditions, winds greater than 74 miles per hour. As of August 2008, there were more than 3,800 production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico; these structures range in size from single well caissons in water depths of ten feet to a large complex facility in water depth greater than 7,000 feet.
Offshore Infrastructure Destroyed
As of October 6, 2008, 54 of the 3,800 offshore oil and gas production platforms have been confirmed as destroyed. Initial estimates are that the 54 destroyed production platforms produced a total of 13,300 barrels of oil per day and 90 million cubic feet of gas per day. Currently, MMS has no information on whether any of the destroyed platforms will be rebuilt by any operator. As MMS continues to verify damage assessment reports, some platforms originally designated as having extensive damage may be determined destroyed. These will be reflected in future damage assessments.
Damage reports have been defined by the estimated time it will take to make the repairs. For damage reporting purposes, MMS is considering that all platforms experiencing hurricane strength winds have the potential for minor damage. Repairs and resumption of production from facilities with minor damage can be expected to occur in less than one month. Examples of damage that would be considered minor might include missing heliport skirting, missing hand rails and pieces of grating or damaged boat landings.
As of October 6, 2008, MMS has received reports that indicate 35 platforms with extensive damage which may take from three to six months to repair. Examples of damage that would be considered extensive could include underwater structural damage or major damage to pipelines carrying the oil or natural gas to shore.
Additional reports show that 60 platforms received moderate damage taking one to three months before production can be restored. Damage that would be considered moderate may include major topside damage to critical process equipment such as the platform’s compressor or damaged risers or flex joints where pipelines connect to the platforms.
In respect to drilling rigs damaged, MMS has confirmed a report of one jack-up drilling rig with extensive damage.
To date, MMS has received reports of one oil pipeline system and eight gas transmission pipeline systems with damage. The analysis of the damages’ impact on resuming production is continuing. Oil and gas operators and pipeline owners are testing and inspecting other pipeline systems to evaluate the full extent of any damage. Considering the large impacted area, it will take some time to complete the inspections.
MMS will compile and release sheen reports upon completion of the reporting and confirmation process. There have been no reports of oil released in the Gulf of Mexico federal waters impacting the shoreline or affecting birds and wildlife.
Production from the Gulf of Mexico accounts for 25 percent of the oil produced domestically and 15 percent of the natural gas produced domestically. As of June 2008, daily production estimates for the Gulf of Mexico were 1.3 million barrels of oil and 7.0 billion cubic feet of gas. Since that time, gas production from the Independence Hub facility increased and in August 2008 gas production from the Gulf was estimated at 7.4 billion cubic feet of gas per day.
Working with oil and gas operators, there are tools that can be used to assist in resuming production which is curtailed because of damaged pipelines. These tools include barging, temporary flaring, and re-routing of product through other pipelines. Use of these tools requires that offshore operators submit requests to MMS for approval.
Updated damage assessments will be issued as needed.