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BSEE monitors Gulf of Mexico oil and gas activities in response to Hurricane Ida

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The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) activated its Hurricane Response Team as Hurricane Ida made its way through the US Gulf of Mexico (GOM).  The Hurricane Response Team is monitoring offshore oil and gas operators in the GOM as they evacuate platforms and rigs in response to the storm. The team works 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 activities.

Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 CDT on 1 September, personnel have been evacuated from a total of 249 production platforms, 44.46% of the 560 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Personnel have been evacuated from nine rigs (non-dynamically positioned), equivalent to 81.82% of the 11 rigs of this type currently operating in the GOM.

A total of four dynamically positioned (DP) rigs have moved off location out of the storm’s projected path as a precaution. This number represents 26.7% of the 15 DP rigs currently operating in the Gulf. DP rigs maintain their location while conducting well operations by using thrusters and propellers. These rigs are not moored to the seafloor; therefore, they can move off location in a relatively short time frame. Personnel remain on-board and return to the location once the storm has passed.

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, effectively shutting in production from wells in the GOM 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 79.96% of the current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut in. BSEE estimates that approximately 83.21% of the gas production in the GOM 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 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.

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