Archive for the ‘oil’ Category

December 2021 oil production averaged 1.713 million bopd, lower than expected and down from 1.794 million bopd in Novermber. Given that the production lost during Hurricane Ida was to have been fully restored, BOE expected production to average greater than 1.8 million bopd.

January data will be helpful but won’t be available until 31 March. GIven the importance of these data and advances in information management, more timely updates should be an objective. We note that Norway released January production data on 22 February.

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EIA data

October production rebounded to 1.744 million BOPD from the 2021 low of 1.064 million BOPD in September (Hurricane Ida). November and December production should exceed 1.8 million BOPD.

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Data from EIA

1.60 to 1.74 million BOPD were shut-in from 8/28 to 8/31, reducing the average daily production for August to 1.535 million barrels per day, a net reduction of 312,000 BOPD from July. The September production figure will be significantly lower given that more than half of the GoM production was shut-in for 13 days in September and several hundred thousand BOPD were shut-in for the rest of the month. September production will be released at the end of November.

Shell is now anticipating that their GoM production will be fully restored by mid-November.

Hurricane Ida – JPT graphic

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Due to water currents and a robust emergency clean-up effort, local beaches and ocean were re-opened on Oct. 11. By mid October, walking along the wide, sandy beaches there’s no sign of the spill as dolphins and surfers share the waves against a backdrop of cargo ships, oil rigs and the soft silhouette of Catalina Island.

Santa Cruz Sentinel

Further confirmation of the lower spill volume:

“Right now, there’s high confidence that the spill was approximately 24,696 gallons. The exact number won’t be able to be verified until the investigation has been completed. But there’s high confidence in that number,” Shaye said.

LCDR Shaye to the Sentinel

“Our world environment is very resilient, which is a positive thing,” Shaye said. “As far as the birds and wildlife; there have been some deaths, as happens in this kind of situation. But quite a few have been rehabilitated and released back into their environment.

LCDR Shaye to the Sentinel

Kudos to the responders. The training and response exercises worked!

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This quote from an AP article is consistent with the view expressed here after our review of the inspection reports for the Beta Unit (Platform Elly to shore) pipeline. Further per the AP article:

Safety inspections in 2015, 2017 and 2019 found anomalies in Amplify’s pipeline, including instances of metal loss and three dents that were previously repaired. But several experts who reviewed the reports said the metal loss — which can be a sign of a pipe wall thinning as it corrodes with age — was relatively minor. The dents were not in the same area as the spill.


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Aqueos 2020 external (ROV) inspection:

The 16” oil pipeline was found to be in good condition with no visible damage or anomalies.
One (1) CP test point that was installed in 2014 was found to be displaced from its location on the pipeline (this was also noted in the 2018 survey), and no damage was noted at the location (Fix #101).

Aqueos inspection report, May 2020

Pipe‐to‐electrolyte potential values recorded were:
 ‐ 921 millivolts (mV) on the 6” gas pipeline
 ‐ 910 millivolts (mV) on the 10” water pipeline
 ‐ 963 millivolts (mV) on the 10” gross fluids pipeline
 ‐ 906 millivolts (mV) on the 16” oil pipeline

As the NACE Standard SP0169‐2013 “Control of External Corrosion on Underground or Submerged Metallic Pipelines” criterion is ‐800 mV, all readings indicate that Cathodic Potential is within specifications.

Aqueos inspection report, May 2020

Metal loss data from Baker Hughes internal inspection (12/2019):

Depth of Metal LossExternal AnomaliesInternal Anomalies
Baker Hughes In-line Inspection Report, 12/30/2019

The metal loss findings are consistent with those reported in a previous internal inspection (Baker Hughes, 11/2017).

BSEE has general authority to require pipeline inspections under 30 CFR 250.1005. BSEE, the State Lands Commission, and the operator appear to have implemented an effective inspection program for the Beta Unit.

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Surfers leave the water after lifeguards enforce the closure of the ocean in Huntington Beach, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. The water has been closed to surfing and swimming for a week since an offshore oil pipeline leaked crude into the water off the coast of Orange County. (AP Photo/Amy Taxin)
AP Photo/Amy Taxin

Huntington Beach reopened:

Matt Harty, a 61-year-old retired construction supervisor from the nearby community of Seal Beach, said he was glad to return to the waves in Huntington Beach with other early morning surfers. He said he’s seen oil spills before and this one didn’t seem that bad, and in fact, the beach looks great.

“This is the cleanest I’ve seen the beach in years, right, because there’s been nobody here for a week,” Harty said. “I think they cleaned it up really well.”

AP 10/11

While the size of the spill isn’t known, the Coast Guard on Thursday slightly revised the parameters of the estimates to at least about 25,000 gallons (95,000 liters) and no more than 132,000 gallons (500,000 liters).

AP 10/9

Comment: Including a lower estimate that is 80% less than the initial estimate is hardly a slight revision, especially when this lower limit is based on an assessment of pipeline data.

So far the impact on wildlife has been minimal – 10 dead birds and another 25 recovered alive and treated – but environmentalists caution the long-term impacts could be much greater.

AP 10/9

Comment: One gets the sense that some anti-production activists are disappointed that the spill is not the environmental disaster needed to end oil and gas production in U.S. offshore waters, that the pipeline operator is (at most) only partially responsible, and that the primary regulators have been doing their job despite outdated regulations and jurisdictional uncertainty.

So far, two proposed class-action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of a disc jockey who runs beachfront events in Huntington Beach and a surf school that operates in the city known as “Surf City USA.”

ABC News

No comment 😃

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As we have been suggesting for several days, the initial spill estimate was too conservative (high) and assumed near total losses from the pipeline. The Coast Guard has now established a “minimum” estimate which is identical to the spill volume cited in footnote 2 of the PHMSA Order. This estimate was presumably determined after a review of meter data.

Coast Guard Capt. Rebecca Ore said at a media briefing that officials “have assessed and verified pipeline data, and made a determination that the minimum amount of crude oil released from that pipeline is 588 barrels of oil,” which equals about 24,696 gallons.

OC Register

The Coast Guard is not backing off the original estimate entirely hedging that “it’s still possible the leak is of roughly the size that’s been reported.” Meanwhile, the mayor of Huntington Beach has expressed some optimism:

Asked whether the lower estimate of oil released could mean beaches reopen sooner, Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said she was “cautiously optimistic that it will be sooner than later.”

OC Register

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This is a very good article with thoughtful, well informed input:.

“My experience suggests this would be a darned hard leak to remotely determine quickly,” said Richard Kuprewicz, a private pipeline accident investigator and consultant. “An opening of this type, on a 17-mile-long (27-kilometer) underwater pipe is very hard to spot by remote indications. These crack-type releases are lower rate and can go for quite a while.”

Jonathan Stewart, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, said he was surprised the damage wasn’t more severe given how far the pipe was moved.

“My first reaction when I heard that it is displaced so far was that it’s remarkable that it’s even intact at all,” Stewart said.

The type of crack seen in the Coast Guard video is big enough to allow some oil to escape to potentially trigger the low pressure alarm, Kuprewicz said. But because the pipeline was operating under relatively low pressure, the control room operator may have simply dismissed the alarm because the pressure was not very high to begin, he said.

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BSEE data indicate that the operator of the Beta Unit facilities (Platforms Ellen, Elly, and Eureka, and the associated pipelines) had a good compliance and safety record.

  • Since 1/1/2015 Beta facilities were inspected 262 times and 49 Incidents of Non-Compliance (INCs) were issued.
  • The ratio of 0.19 INCs/inspection was better than the average for the Pacific Region (0.29 INCs/inspection).
  • No facility shut-in orders were issued during that period.
  • BSEE assesses civil penalties for violations that constitute a serious threat to safety or the environment. Since 1/1/2015, Beta has not been assessed any civil penalties.
  • BSEE incident data are badly out-of-date (no data posted for 2020 or 2021), but the most recent incidents at the Beta Unit facilities were 2 minor injuries (no lost time) in 2019, a small dryer fire in 2018, a minor injury (no lost time) in 2017, and a lost time injury (fall) in 2016.
  • BSEE’s oil spill data are even more out-of-date (no data posted since 2013) so it is difficult to assess Beta’s performance in that category.

With regard to the Huntington Beach pipeline spill, the evidence to date seems to confirm that the pipeline damage was caused by anchor dragging. Beta’s response to the PHMSA preliminary finding on their delayed response to the low pressure alarm (see previous post) will be of great interest. Alarm issues are not always straightforward. PHMSA’s 12-page order was issued on Monday (10/4), only 2 days after the spill was reported. The investigation will no doubt carefully consider the pressure and alarm history for the pipeline, data for 10/1 and 10/2, and input from those working in the control room.

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