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BSEE monitors Gulf of Mexico oil and gas activities following Cristobal

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Hurricane Response Team continues to monitor offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf as operators resume operations on platforms and rigs following Tropical Storm Cristobal. 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 submitted from offshore operator reports, personnel remain evacuated from a total of 123 production platforms, 19.13% 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 remain evacuated from one rig (non-dynamically positioned), equivalent to 12.5% of the eight 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.

All dynamically positioned rigs have returned to their working locations. 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 storm has passed.

As part of the evacuation process, personnel activated the applicable shut-in procedure, which can frequently be accomplished from a remote location. This involves closing the subsurface 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 of Mexico 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 31.11% of the current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico remains shut-in. BSEE estimates that approximately 33.15% of the natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico is 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.

BSEE will continue to update the evacuation and shut-in statistics each day as appropriate. The below survey is reflective of 31 companies’ reports as of 9 June 2020.


Percentage of GOM


1 12.5
DP Rigs Moved-off 0 0
Total shut-in Percentage of GOM Production
575,541 31.11
MMCFD Shut-in
898.32 33.15


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