News Alert: U.S. Gulf of Mexico Mobile Offshore Drilling Units are keeping station. Dynamically positioned drilling rigs moved off-location prior to storm and are accounted for by BSEE District staff.
Posted: 8/30/2012 8:10:21 PM
Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center

NEW ORLEANS — Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico have evacuated
platforms and rigs in the path of Hurricane Isaac. The Bureau of Safety and
Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Hurricane Response Team is activated and
monitoring the operators’ activities. The team will continue to work with
offshore operators and other state and federal agencies until operations return
to normal and the storm is no longer a threat to Gulf of Mexico oil and gas

As part of ongoing monitoring, BSEE reports that all dynamically positioned
drilling rigs in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico moved off location prior to the storm
and have been accounted for by BSEE District staff. Through real-time
monitoring capabilities, BSEE can confirm that as of 11:30 a.m. CDT today all
mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs) in the U.S Gulf of Mexico are keeping
station. MODUs include both jackup and moored drilling rigs.

Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 a.m.
CDT today, personnel have been evacuated from a total of 509 production
platforms, equivalent to 85.4 percent of the 596 manned platforms in the Gulf
of Mexico. Production platforms are the structures located offshore from which
oil and natural gas are produced. Unlike drilling rigs, which typically move
from location to location, production facilities remain in the same location
throughout a project’s duration.

Personnel have been evacuated from 50 rigs, equivalent to 65.79 percent
of the 76 rigs currently operating in the Gulf. Rigs can include several types
of self-contained offshore drilling facilities including jackup rigs,
submersibles and semisubmersibles.

As part of the evacuation process, personnel activate the applicable
shut-in procedure, which can frequently be accomplished from a remote location.
This involves closing the sub-surface safety valves located below the surface
of the ocean floor to prevent the release of oil or gas. During previous
hurricane seasons, the shut-in valves functioned 100 percent of the time,
efficiently shutting in production from wells on the Outer Continental Shelf
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.

From operator reports, it is estimated that approximately 94.99 percent
of the current daily oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in. It
is also estimated that approximately 72.52 percent of the current daily 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. Shut-in production information included in these reports is based on
the amount of oil and gas the operator expected to produce that day. The
shut-in production figures therefore are estimates, which BSEE compares to
historical production reports to ensure the estimates follow a logical pattern.

After the hurricane has passed, facilities will be inspected. Once all
standard checks have been completed, production from undamaged facilities will
be brought back on line immediately. Facilities sustaining damage may take
longer to bring back on line. BSEE will continue to update the evacuation and
shut-in statistics at 1:00 p.m. CDT each day as appropriate.

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