Posts Tagged ‘hurricanes’

I fully expect feature number 4 to be a TC by Wednesday and Hurricane by Friday as it threatens the NE Caribbean first. Eventual track toward Bahamas SE US in 10-15 day period. Feature in Africa develops, stays way out. 1,2,3 weaker right now

Joe Bastardi Twitter

Read Full Post »

This is a great Gary Brookins cartoon from March 2006 that has been featured in some of my presentations. We now have only one month until the official start of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season so my post is a bit late! However, the season peaks in mid-September, so you could also argue that I’m posting this too early!

Read Full Post »

News: BOEMRE releases report on the September 2010 Mariner Fire in the Gulf of Mexico.
BOE Comments:

  • Good report and relatively timely. Nice job by the team.
  • Good discussion of the heater-treater and production safety issues.
  • This was a very serious incident and lives were jeopardized. Sadly, no oil spill means no public attention.
  • Why didn’t the Coast Guard participate in the investigation? Will they be reporting on the haphazard evacuation?
  • Age old question: Is the rather extensive discussion of violations appropriate for an accident report? Should violations and enforcement actions be managed independently from accident investigations?
BOE: Floating liquefaction facilities open interesting possibilities for producing natural gas in remote offshore locations, possibly including the arctic.  The first FLNG facility will be 488 m from bow to stern! Offshore to the future!
BOE: Lots of posturing and not much in the way of meaningful proposals from either party. Unlike Australia, the US has not responded to its blowout with necessary legislative action, most notably the establishment of a single offshore safety and pollution prevention regulator.
BOE: Engineers solve problems when given the opportunity and encouragement. JL Daeschler is busy at the drawing board!
News: Greenland rolls on. despite Greenpeace protests. Cairn Energy has begun a second summer of drilling.
Views: Last summer’s results must have been sufficiently encouraging to justify further exploration. 
News: Hurricane season officially begins tomorrow.
BOE: There has been surprisingly little public discussion about the offshore industry’s preparations. Hopefully, everyone is ready.
BOE: Where is the worldwide commitment from industry and government? This problem can and must be fixed!

Read Full Post »

Earth Networks: 13 to 14 named storms, with 7 to 8 becoming hurricanes and 4 becoming major hurricanes.

Colorado State University: 16 named storms, with 9 becoming hurricanes and 5 becoming major hurricanes.

Probabilities per Colorado State:

— A 72 percent chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. coastline in 2011.

— A 48 percent chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida peninsula.

— A 47 percent chance that a major hurricane will make landfall on the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle west to Brownsville, Texas.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: expected to issue its forecast May 19

Read Full Post »

from Offshore

Mark Kaiser (LSU) has published a nice summary in Offshore Magazine of the damage to Gulf of Mexico facilities from recent hurricanes and the associated decommissioning challenges.

Comment: Hurricane issues were an enormous challenge for the offshore industry and regulators in the five years prior to Macondo. Did the focus on hurricane damage and repairs increase the risk of a drilling incident? Not directly, but hurricane issues were the primary concern of industry and governmental personnel during that period. Resources that might have addressed other identified needs (e.g. cementing standards) were necessarily involved with hurricane projects.

Read Full Post »

Based on the chart above, I think we can now safely declare that the 2010 hurricane season is over. While the threat of tropical storms posed some problems for the Macondo response, the Gulf of Mexico was spared any significant damage or suspensions of production.

During the post-Macondo discussion about safety and regulatory issues, not much has been said about the major disruptions caused by Hurricanes Ivan, Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike, and the attention and resources that have been dedicated to hurricane issues for the past five years. Major advances have been made in mooring capabilities and assessments, design standards, securing topsides equipment, and other aspects of hurricane preparedness.

How much did hurricane issues affect the assessment and management of other operating risks? This question may merit further attention.

Mars TLP took a direct hit from Hurricane Katina with sustained winds >150 mph

Read Full Post »

In our last Cuba update, we noted that their next deepwater well always seems to be a year away. So it came as no surprise when we saw this in a New York Times article:

Yet next year, a Spanish company will begin drilling new wells 50 miles from the Florida Keys — in Cuba’s sovereign waters.

Comment: We have been hearing this for five years.  Will the well really be spudded next year?

The nascent oil industry in Cuba is far less prepared to handle a major spill than even the American industry was at the time of the BP spill. Cuba has neither the submarine robots needed to fix deepwater rig equipment nor the platforms available to begin drilling relief wells on short notice.

Comments: (1) Not a good time for the US to be lecturing Cuba about oil spills.  (2)In the event of a spill, all well intervention, relief well, and spill response equipment would no doubt be made available to Cuba without hesitation and with the full support of the US government. (3)A Cuban blowout is unlikely because every operator and contractor in the world will be focusing on well integrity and BOP performance issues that were factors in the Macondo blowout. (4)Informed international contacts have advised us that Cuban offshore officials are knowledgeable and committed to internationally accepted safety and pollution prevention standards.

My biggest concern with regard to Cuban offshore operations, assuming a moored rig is used, is that the rig would be set adrift during a hurricane and that anchors, mooring lines, or hulls could damage coral reefs and other sensitive seafloor features.  In the US, the MMS and industry did a lot of good work on mooring risk assessments and improved anchoring systems and mooring lines.   Given the significant probability that Cuban rigs will be exposed to hurricane conditions, it is imperative that US and Cuban specialists meet to discuss these issues.  Once a rig is adrift, there is not much that can be done to stop it.

Also, in an award winning project, a multi-agency US government team demonstrated enhanced satellite monitoring capabilities that provide timely information on the location of evacuated rigs.   These capabilities can be combined with gps systems to ensure continuous rig-tracking.

US-Cuban cooperation on offshore safety and pollution prevention issues is in the best interest of both countries, and should be encouraged without hesitation.

Read Full Post »

  • As indicated in the Weather Undergound map above, a tropical system may be approaching, and weather may be the key factor in determining the next step at Macondo.  Is the hurricane season about to begin in earnest?  Fortunately the well is shut-in, and will likely remain shut-in (this is good news despite attempts to describe it otherwise).
  • BP is now considering a static kill operation – slowly injecting mud and killing the well from the top.  This should work, but timing is the key.  Could the operation be completed in what remains of the weather window? 
  • With regard to the relief well, is it prudent to initiate the Macondo intercept given the weather uncertainties?  Clearly, you do not want to have to relocate the DD3 in the middle of a bottom kill operation. 
  • Keep a close watch on the weather, as tropical waves and storms can appear and intensify overnight.

Read Full Post »

Hurricane Juan - "Sudden Storm" killed 9 offshore workers in 1985

The offshore industry has an outstanding hurricane evacuation record, but the Macondo blowout adds a significant new dimension to the decision making process.  Disconnect the production risers and 35,000 to 60,000 bopd flow directly into the Gulf.  Suspend the relief wells and the final Macondo solution gets moved that much farther into the future.

There will be pressure to minimize the downtime and that would be a mistake.  Days, not hours, will be needed to prepare for the evacuations.  Decisions will have to be made well in advance of a storm’s arrival and will be based on less reliable long-term weather forecasts.  If a shutdown decision is made too soon, hundreds of thousands of additional barrels of oil pour into the Gulf.  If the decision is delayed, lives are threatened.

The most frightening scenarios are associated with “sudden storms” which can form in or near the Gulf and explode into hurricanes in hours, not days.  The rapid formation and development of these storms precludes an orderly shutdown and evacuation process, and poses a major safety threat to workers.  In 1985, nine offshore workers were killed when Hurricane Juan formed suddenly in the Gulf and personnel could not be safely evacuated.

Let’s hope that the well is brought under control before any hurricanes enter or form in the Gulf.  If not, decision makers need to exercise extreme caution and shutdown operations before lives are threatened.

Read Full Post »


Read Full Post »