Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico continue to restore production following Tropical Storm Isaac. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Hurricane Response Team will continue to work with offshore operators and other state and federal agencies until operations return to normal.
Personnel remain evacuated on a total of 10 production platforms, equivalent to 1.68 percent of the 596 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Production platforms are the structures located offshore from which oil and natural gas are produced.
Personnel remain evacuated from one rig, equivalent to 1.32 percent of the 76 rigs currently operating in the Gulf. Rigs can include several types of self-contained offshore drilling facilities including jackup rigs, submersibles and semisubmersibles.
- Gulf of Mexico production ramps up after Isaac (fuelfix.com)
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A deckhand prepares to secure a boat Friday at Port Fourchon. The port received minimal damage from Hurricane Isaac, the facility’s director says. Abby Tabor/Staff
Xerxes A. Wilson
PORT FOURCHON — Hurricane Isaac could have been worse at this hub for boats, rigs and manpower that serve most of the Gulf of Mexico’s oilfield.
The port shut down Monday as a mandatory evacuation was ordered in advance of the storm. Isaac dealt a direct hit to the port early Wednesday, but the facility reopened two days later, emerging with what officials describe as minor damage.
Electricity was still out Sunday, but Director Chett Chiasson said the docks, supply yards and other facilities buzzed with activity.
“Our biggest concern was the possibility of channel restrictions and damages to facilities where we would not be able to operate efficiently,” he said, “but that doesn’t seem to have happened.”
Getting the port running was key to allow Gulf oil production to continue, he said.
As Isaac hit, the Federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement estimated that 509 of the 596 oil-production platforms and 50 of the 76 drilling rigs the Gulf had been evacuated. By Sunday, workers remain evacuated from 131 platforms, 22 percent, and 18 rigs, 23 percent. About 71 percent of Gulf oil production and 55 percent of natural-gas production remained halted Sunday.
Through the weekend, massive oceangoing vessels could be seen navigating the port’s channels as gulf oil production resumes.
The port serves as a staging area for half the drilling rigs in the Gulf and production of about 20 percent of the nation’s oil supply, Chiasson said. Supplies, equipment and rig infrastructure are typically brought into the port by truck along La. 1 then loaded onto towering vessels before being transported to the Gulf.
Read More: Houma Today
Gulf Locals and Energy Experts Express Concern Over Decreased Gulf of Mexico Offshore Drilling Activity on Jobs, Economy
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 8, 2012 – Today, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing on the Fiscal Year 2013 budget for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). During the hearing, Committee Members heard testimony from Gulf of Mexico business leaders and energy experts who expressed deep concern over the slowdown in offshore permitting that has negatively impacted Gulf businesses and local economies.
“Production in the Gulf of Mexico is essential to our nation’s energy security – accounting for 29 percent of total U.S. crude production and 12 percent of total U.S. natural gas production. The thousands of businesses throughout the Gulf and nationwide that support this industry still struggle to stay afloat as a result of President Obama’s moratorium and the subsequent permitorium,” said Subcommittee Chairman Lamborn (CO-05). “We will hear from some of these stakeholders in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as review an analysis that shows that the pace of permitting is still well below historical averages.”
Historically low permitting has caused unemployment, economic instability and businesses to leave the Gulf of Mexico.
James Adams, President and CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), which represents more than 100 firms that operate marine service vessels in the Gulf of Mexico, spoke to how devastating the permitting slowdown has been. “The economic impacts of this permit slow-down or de facto moratorium are diverse and farreaching, affecting individuals and businesses in various industries across the Gulf Coast…businesses are indeed laying off workers, reducing hours and salaries, and limiting new hires as a result of the permit slow-down.” Adams also mentioned the reoccurring theme of businesses moving overseas, “and postponing local expansion puts the regional economy on insecure ground, and the loss of businesses in the oil and gas industry to international markets has potential negative effects on the national economy.”
Brady Como, Ecxecutive Vice President of Delmar Systems, a leading supplier of offshore services in the Gulf, testified that slow permitting activity, “has not only had an impact upon our employees that were laid off, but also has been the driving force for the percentage of our international business outside the Gulf of Mexico more than doubling during that time.” To stay in business, his company has been forced to follow, “rigs leaving the gulf all over the world, from Brazil and Australia, to Trinidad, West Africa and the Mediterranean.” Como reminded Members that, “for every drilling rig that leaves, 200 jobs go with it. That impact is even greater when indirect jobs are considered.”
Benjamin Salsbury, Senior Energy Policy Analyst at SVP FBR capital Markets, confirmed that, “there are just 25 Mobile Offshore Drilling Units or ‘floaters’ and 15 platforms drilling. That is 12% fewer floaters than were operating before the Macondo spill despite crude oil prices more than 25% higher.” Salsbury continued to reiterate what local Gulf businesses already know, “there continues to be a permitting constraint on Deepwater Gulf of Mexico drilling activity.”
A study put forward by Greater New Orleans, Inc. estimates that of the Gulf businesses they surveyed:
- 41% said they were not making a profit;
- 50% said they have laid of employees as a result of the moratorium; and
- 82% said they have lost personal savings as a result of the permit slowdown.
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