Onshore/Offshore Facilities

Majority of US Gulf Production Still Idle After Ida

Damage reports and spill issues surface as operators work to bring production from the GOM back on line.

Radar imagery of Category 4 Hurricane Ida just before landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana.
SOURCE: National Hurricane Center

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) believes about 80% of US Gulf of Mexico (GOM) crude oil production remains shut-in in the wake of powerful Hurricane Ida. The agency estimates that approximately 78% of natural gas production in the region remains off line. As of this morning, personnel remain evacuated from a total of 79 production platforms, or just over 14% of the 560 manned platforms in the GOM.

Personnel are still evacuated from four rigs (nondynamically positioned), equivalent to 36% of the 11 rigs of this type currently operating in the GOM. A total of two dynamically positioned rigs remain off location. One of these rigs, the Noble Globetrotter II encountered severe weather during Hurricane Ida and was damaged by the storm. Rig owner Noble provided a force majeure notice to its customer Shell regarding the rig.

According to BSEE, facilities are currently being inspected. Once all standard checks have been completed, production from undamaged facilities will be brought back on line. Facilities sustaining damage may take longer to return to production.

The US Coast Guard and Talos Energy are working to contain at least one spill in the Bay Marchand area caused by a break in a shallow-water pipeline caused by Ida. The spill, which early on comprised a 4-mile black sheen and a 10-mile rainbow sheen, was in federal waters.

Talos said in a statement that its assets were not the source of the oil release but, as a responsible operator, has chosen to continue to lead response efforts to contain and control the release.

Talos said during inspection of the area it observed several non-Talos-owned subsea pipelines that were likely impacted by Hurricane Ida, including a 12-in. diameter non-Talos-owned pipeline that appears to be the source of the release. On 6 September, response personnel installed a containment dome on the affected pipe, which allows for the recovery of the release and transfer to surface vessels.

Post-Ida, Shell said it observed damage to its West Delta-143 (WD-143) offshore facility via flyover. The company added it is working to understand the full extent of the damage and the degree to which its production in the GOM will be impacted. The WD-143 facilities serve as the transfer station for all Shell production from its assets in the Mars corridor in the Mississippi Canyon area to onshore crude terminals.