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Updated: Workers return to GoM following Nate

Written by  Thursday, 05 October 2017 14:17

Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico, including Anadarko and Shell, have begun redeploying personnel to the Gulf of Mexico following Hurricane Nate.

Tropical depression Nate as of 8 October. Image from National Weather Service.

Nate formed as a tropical storm on Thursday morning (5 October), and made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane in Mississippi on Sunday (8 October). The storm has since been downgraded to a tropical depression.

Yesterday (8 October), Anadarko said the company had begun the process of safely redeploying personnel to its operated facilities following Hurricane Nate's passage through the GoM. 

"We expect to resume production as quickly and safely as possible," the company said in a statement.

Also yesterday, supermajor Shell said it was in the process of returning personnel to its Mars, Olympus, Ursa and Ram Powell production hubs.

"Production operations will resume once we can verify the integrity of our assets for safe operation, and the associated pipelines and downstream gas plants are back on line to accept product," Shell said.

Based on data Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) received from offshore operator reports as of today (9 October) 11:30 a.m. CST, it is estimated that approximately 85.09% of the current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in, which equates to nearly 1.5 MMb/d. It is also estimated that approximately 64.78% of the natural gas production, or 2 MMcf/d in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in. 

Personnel remain evacuated from eight drilling rigs (non-dynamically positioned (DP) rigs), equivalent to 40% of the 20 rigs of this type currently operating in the Gulf.

Seven DP rigs are still off location out of the hurricane’s path as a precaution. This number represents 38.9% of the 18 DP rigs currently operating in the Gulf. 

Of those operators that evacuated last week, supermajor BP said that it is closely monitoring the storm to safely ensure its personnel and operations in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

“With forecasts indicating the system likely to strengthen as it moves to the north, we are now taking additional steps to respond. BP has begun securing offshore facilities and evacuating non-essential personnel from the Thunder Horse and Na Kika platforms and the West Vela drilling rig in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Safety is our top priority and we will continue to monitor weather conditions closely to determine next steps,” BP said in a statement yesterday (4 October).

Shell is said on 4 October that the company is also monitoring the Tropical Storm Nate. 

"As a precautionary measure, we are minimizing the number of people working offshore at our assets in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and are taking steps to safely secure our facilities in preparation for potentially severe weather. There are currently no impacts to our production or drilling operations," Shell said in a statement last week.

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