Thursday, October 20, 2016

How Hurricanes Affect Offshore Oil Drilling

[The Surge] Hurricane Matthew slammed Florida and the East Coast recently in a show of nature’s destructive power. All of America, rightfully so, was focused on the safety of those living in Florida and the coast, but one thing I thought about also was how hurricanes might affect offshore drilling rigs.
It’s an understatement to say that waters get choppy when a category five hurricane barrels through, so what happens to the rigs and the workers?
Perhaps we can learn something from what occurred with Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The storm destroyed 50 offshore oil platforms, and did serious damage to Shell’s Mars platform, which was the top producer in the Gulf. It took 600,000 man hours to fix that particular rig.
In the eight months following Katrina, offshore oil production was one-third lower than what it was in the eight months before.
These numbers are devastating, but what about the safety of the workers?
Oil companies practice hurricane safety with their workers every year to make sure established rules and plans are in place. Normally all non-essential workers are evacuated, and a core group gets left behind to shut down operations and make sure everything is secure. That core group is then evacuated and the rig, if possible, is operated remotely.
When the storm passes, workers travel back out to the rig to fix any damage that may have occurred thanks to the hurricane. The Gulf Coast is home to some 3,000 oil rigs, so I can only imagine how a hurricane can affect oil prices due to the shutdown of offshore drilling. Read More