Hurricane Ike has destroyed some some 28 oil and gas production platform in the Gulf Mexico and several others have been significantly damaged, reports the US Minerals Management Service, MMS. Casualties include three jack-up rigs destroyed, and one severely damaged while two rigs that were earlier reported to be drifting have been secured.
Daily production losses have been initially estimated at 11,000 barrels of oil and 8.2 million cubic feet of gas. Production from the Gulf of Mexico accounts for 25 percent of the oil and 15 percent of the natural gas produced in the US. As of June 2008, daily production estimates for the Gulf of Mexico were 1.3 million barrels of oil and 7.0 billion cubic feet of gas. Since then, gas production from the Independence Hub facility increased and in August 2008 gas production from the Gulf was estimated at 7.4 billion cubic feet of gas per day from some 3,800 platforms ranging from single well caissons in water depths of ten feet to a large complex facility in water depth greater than 7,000 feet.
“To date, most of the destroyed platforms include older facilities with small levels of production,” says Lars Herbst, regional director, MMS Gulf of Mexico Region. “We expect additional reports of damage as the weather allows more flights and operators are able to board the platforms and begin inspections.”
Early reports also indicate that there is some pipeline damage. The full extent of damage will not be available until operators are able to test the systems.
MMS has been conducting helicopter fly-overs to investigate reports of oil spills/sheens. While it is too early for definitive reports, there was one reported sheen as of September 15, 2008 estimated to be nine barrels; subsequent investigations showed that the sheen had dissipated.