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BSEE Monitors Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Activities in Response to Tropical Storms Marco and Laura

Tropical Storm Marco

Tropical Storm Marco
(click to enlarge)

NEW ORLEANS — Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Hurricane Response Team continues to monitor Tropical Storm Marco in the Gulf of Mexico and Tropical Storm Laura as it makes its way into the Gulf of Mexico. The Hurricane Response Team is monitoring offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf as they evacuate platforms and rigs in response to the storms. 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 Gulf of Mexico oil and gas activities.

Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 CDT today, personnel have been evacuated from a total of 281 production platforms, 43.7 percent of the 643 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 six rigs (non-dynamically positioned), equivalent to 60 percent of the 10 rigs of this type currently operating in the Gulf. Rigs can include several types of offshore drilling facilities including jackup rigs, platform rigs, all submersibles and moored semisubmersibles.

A total of 11 dynamically positioned rigs have moved off location out of the storms’ projected paths as a precaution. This number represents 68 percent of the 16 DP rigs currently operating in the Gulf. Dynamically positioned 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 storms have passed.

Tropical Storm Laura

Tropical Storm Laura
(click to enlarge)

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 Gulf 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, BSEE estimates that approximately 82.4 percent of the current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in. BSEE estimates that approximately 56.92 percent of the 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 storms have 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.



Percentage of GOM







DP Rigs Moved-off




Total shut-in

Percentage of GOM Production




MMCFD Shut-in




BSEE will continue to update the evacuation and shut-in statistics at 1:00 p.m. CDT each day as appropriate. This survey is reflective of 37 companies’ reports as of 11:30 CDT today.