12 Gulf of Mexico platforms evacuated in response to hurricane
In response to Hurricane Ian, oil and gas operators in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico have evacuated 12 offshore platforms. As a result, about 11 per cent of oil and over 8 per cent of gas production has been shut in.
In a report on Tuesday, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said that personnel have been evacuated from a total of 12 production platforms, which represents 2.3 per cent of the 521 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Furthermore, personnel have been evacuated from two rigs (non-dynamically positioned (DP)), equivalent to 15.38 per cent of the 13 rigs of this type currently operating in the Gulf. In addition, a total of four DP rigs have moved off location out of the storm’s path as a precaution, representing 21 per cent of the 19 DP rigs currently operating in the Gulf.
From operator reports, BSEE estimates that approximately 11 per cent of the current oil production and 8.56 per cent of the natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in.
One of the operators to shut some of its assets ahead of the hurricane was BP who has been closely monitoring Hurricane Ian to protect its personnel and operations in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, the company earlier this week shut in production and evacuated all personnel from its Na Kika platform the Thunder Horse platform.
However, with forecasts indicating the storm will track toward the Florida peninsula, no longer posing a significant threat to BP’s Gulf of Mexico assets, the company started working to redeploy offshore personnel to its Na Kika and Thunder Horse platforms after determining conditions are safe to return.
“Safety will be our overriding priority as we bring our platforms back online,” BP concluded.
Chevron has also shut in and evacuated non-essential personnel from its Petronius platform and all personnel from the Blind Faith platform.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday that, on the forecast track, the centre of Ian is expected to approach the west coast of Florida within the hurricane warning area this morning and move onshore later today. The centre of Ian is forecast to move over central Florida tonight and Thursday morning and emerge over the western Atlantic by late Thursday.
The maximum sustained winds have increased to near 140 mph (220 km/h) with higher gusts. Ian is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are possible before Ian reaches the coast of Florida. Ian is forecast to approach the west coast of Florida as an extremely dangerous major hurricane. Weakening is expected after landfall.