Over 90 per cent of current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in as a result of Hurricane Delta, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said.

The BSEE said in its latest report that personnel was evacuated from 279 of the 643 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Personnel have been evacuated from seven non-dynamically positioned rigs, equivalent to 70 per cent of the 10 rigs of this type currently operating in the Gulf. A total of 15 dynamically positioned rigs have moved off location out of the hurricane’s projected path as a precaution. This number represents 88.24 per cent of the 17 dynamically positioned rigs.

Hurricane Delta cone projection; Source: NOAA
Hurricane Delta cone projection; Source: NOAA

From operator reports, BSEE estimates that approximately 61.82 per cent of the natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in.

As for oil, Hurricane Delta has shut 1.67 million barrels per day, or 92 per cent of the Gulf’s oil output, the most since 2005 when Hurricane Katrina destroyed more than 100 offshore platforms and hobbled output for months.

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 the industry for safety and environmental reasons.

Hurricane Delta is the 25th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic
Hurricane season and is sustaining wings of 225 kilometres per hour. It is a
dangerous Category 4 storm which arrived from the Caribbean, went across
Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, and enter the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

It is worth noting that there have been six storms starting with Tropical Storm Cristobal in June that have affected U.S. offshore oil and gas operations this year. The U.S. shale oil output was able to mitigate the market impact of hurricane shut-ins.

According to an NOAA statement from Thursday, Hurricane Delta has been characterised as a “life-threatening storm surge”.

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