Gulf of Mexico operators returning to assets evacuated due to Hurricane Laura

Oil and gas operators in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico are slowly returning to their offshore facilities following an evacuation due to Hurricane Laura.

BP's Thunder Horse platform; Source: BP

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said on Thursday that it continues to monitor offshore oil and gas operations on platforms and rigs in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of Hurricane Laura.

The team works with offshore operators and other state and federal agencies until operations return to normal and the storms are no longer a threat to the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas activities.

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Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 CDT on Thursday, personnel have been evacuated from a total of 297 production platforms, 46.2 per cent of the 643 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

This compares to 299 production platforms on the day before.

Furthermore, personnel have been evacuated from 10 rigs (non-dynamically positioned), equivalent to 83.3 per cent of the 12 rigs of this type currently operating in the Gulf. That is one less evacuated rig when compared to the Wednesday count.

A total of eight dynamically positioned rigs have moved off location out of the storms’ projected paths as a precaution. This number represents 50 per cent of the 16 DP rigs currently operating in the Gulf.

On Wednesday, a total of 16 dynamically positioned rigs were evacuated.

From operator reports, BSEE estimates that approximately 84.3 per cent of the current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in. The shut-in production increased by 431 barrels.

BSEE estimates that approximately 60.1 per cent of the natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in. This compares to 60.94 per cent on Wednesday.

In an update on Thursday, oil major BP said it is preparing to return to its operated facilities in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico to inspect for any potential damage resulting from Hurricanes Marco and Laura and prepare to return to operations.

“Production will remain shut-in until we have confirmation that our platforms are able to operate safely, pipeline companies have confirmed the operability of offshore pipelines and the shore-based transportation and receiving systems are working as necessary.

“Weather permitting, overflights will begin Friday to survey our facilities”, BP said.