Hurricane Ike destroyed 52 of the 3,800 oil and natural gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), along with three jack-up drilling rigs and one platform drilling rig, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) said late Wednesday. Overall, 1,450 offshore structures were pounded by winds of more than 74 mph during the storm.
The destroyed platforms had been producing around 90 MMcf/d of gas and 13,300 b/d of oil, MMS said.
“Currently, MMS has no information on whether any of the destroyed platforms will be rebuilt by any operator,” the federal agency stated.
MMS also has received reports indicating that 29 platforms suffered “extensive damage, which may take from three to six months to repair.” Examples of damage that would be considered “extensive” may include underwater structural damage or major damage to pipelines carrying the oil or gas to shore, the agency said. One jack-up drilling rig also received extensive damage, MMS said.
Additional reports to MMS indicate that 33 platforms received “moderate” damage that will take one to three months before production is restored. Moderate damage includes major topside damage to critical process equipment, such as a platform’s compressor, or damaged risers or flex joints where pipelines connect to the platforms.
Six gas transmission pipeline systems were damaged, according to the agency, and an analysis of the impact of the damage is under way. “Considering the large impacted area, this will take some time to complete the inspections.”
The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability reported Wednesday that nine of the 26 major gas pipelines in the Gulf Coast area continued to report a complete shut-in of their facilities Wednesday. The remaining pipelines reported to DOE that portions of their systems remain at reduced levels of gas flow because of Hurricane Ike.
Visual inspections of sheens or spills are being conducted as reports are received, said MMS. One report indicated a release of 200 bbl of oil during Ike, but it apparently dissipated through the course of the hurricane. No reports have been received yet indicating that oil impacted the shoreline or affected birds or wildlife from releases in the GOM federal waters.
Based on reports from 61 operators to MMS by midday Wednesday, 57.1% of the usual 7.4 Bcf/d of gas production in the GOM remained shut in. About 62.5% of the 1.3 million b/d of oil output also remained shut in, the agency said. Of the 694 manned platforms in the GOM, 179 remain evacuated, and three of a total of 116 manned rigs remain evacuated, MMS said.
In Louisiana the Department of Natural Resources reported that 31%, or 504 MMcf/d, of daily gas production has been restored. The estimated amount of shut-in gas is 825 MMcf/d; the status of 312 MMcf/d has not been confirmed.
At least one GOM producer, Nexen Inc., is forecasting substantially lower oil and natural gas output because of damage from hurricanes Ike and Gustav. Nexen, based in Calgary, stated that with the “significant production downtime” caused by the twin hurricanes this month, “we expect to be slightly below the low end of our production guidance this year.” The producer is forecasting 4Q2008 output in the GOM to range between 10,000 boe/d and 20,000 boe/d. Prior to Ike and Gustav, Nexen was producing around 30,000 boe/d total in the GOM.
Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America (NGPL) said power had been restored to its Liberty County, TX, compressor station, but a force majeure remained in effect for Compressor Station 342 in Cameron Parish, LA. In addition, the leaks found on the Louisiana Line have been repaired and NGPL has notified its customers that the capacity along this segment has increased and the restrictions have been lifted. Sea Robin Pipeline Co. has begun gas flow on some cleared segments, but certain segments of its East and West Legs sustained damage from Ike and will remain out of service; no time frame was issued for when service would ramp up.
Restarting the remaining seven gas processors still shut in from Ike and/or Gustav is slow going, the Energy Information Administration reported. The shut-in plants have total operating capacity of 4.68 Bcf/d. Twenty-four plants with total operating capacity of 9.2 Bcf/d have resumed operations at reduced or normal levels, and seven other plants with total operating capacity of 3.59 Bcf/d operating capacity are capable to restart once they have power or once upstream gas flow begins. Williams reported that its Cameron Meadows processing plant in Cameron Parish, LA, sustained “significant damage” from Ike. Williams had no time frame for when service would restart.
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