Photo: Appomattox platform, Gulf of Mexico; Credit: Photographic Services, Shell International Limited

Nearly 94 pct of Gulf of Mexico oil output still offline after Hurricane Ida

While some of the oil production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico has been brought online following Hurricane Ida, which swept across the Gulf coast earlier this week, nearly 94 per cent remains offline.

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said in its latest update, published on Tuesday 31 August, that personnel had been evacuated from a total of 278 production platforms, 49.64 per cent of the 560 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. This compares to a total of 288 production platforms, or 51.43 per cent, on Sunday 29 August.

Furthermore, personnel has been evacuated from nine rigs (non-dynamically positioned), equivalent to 81.8 per cent of the 11 rigs of this type currently operating in the Gulf.

A total of 4 dynamically positioned rigs have moved off location out of the storm’s projected path as a precaution. This number represents 26.7 per cent of the 15 DP rigs currently operating in the Gulf.

When it comes to oil and gas production, it is estimated that approximately 93.69 per cent of the current oil production and approximately 94.47 per cent of the gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut in. At its peak, 95.65 per cent of oil production and approximately 93.75 per cent of the gas production in the Gulf of Mexico was shut in last Sunday.

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The Gulf of Mexico operators are currently assessing possible damages as Hurricane Ida was downgraded to a tropical depression earlier in the week. However, many of the assets still remain evacuated and offline.

BP’s latest update related to the hurricane was issued on Monday, 30 August. The oil major said it had mobilized to assess possible damage to company-operated facilities in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and supporting infrastructure.

The company said: “BP personnel will remain evacuated and production shut-in until we have confirmation that our platforms are able to operate safely, and pipeline companies have confirmed the operability of offshore pipelines”.

BP also confirmed that its shore-based transportation and receiving systems were working. BP will make sure to receive regulatory approvals required prior to start-up. “At this time, we cannot predict how long this process will take”, the company said.

According to its update on Tuesday, Shell on Monday conducted an initial flyover of assets in the Gulf of Mexico that were in the path of the storm and was able to confirm that Mars, Olympus and Ursa are all intact and on location. The company is still assessing the results of this initial flyover and a more detailed assessment of offshore assets is being planned by helicopter.

A temporary crew-change heliport will be established in the days ahead, because the primary crew-change heliport in Houma, LA sustained significant damage in the storm. Crew changes to and from assets will not occur until the temporary heliport has been established.

Offshore assets currently online are Perdido in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and the floating production storage and offloading vessel, the Turritella (also known as Stones). All other assets remain shut in and fully evacuated at this time. To remind, Shell evacuated the Ursa, Mars, Olympus, Auger, Enchilada/Salsa, and Appomattox assets.

Chevron said on Tuesday that the production remains shut-in at its operated Gulf of Mexico platforms. Fourchon terminal and Empire terminal and their related pipeline systems are also shut-in.

“We continue to conduct post-storm assessments at our onshore and offshore facilities”, Chevron concluded.