The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy Tomorrow Radio: Episode 82 - Hurricane Preparedness for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted May 26, 2009

In this week's episode, I talk with Tim Sampson, manager for exploration and production at API, and Roland Goodman, manager of upstream standards at API, about how the oil and natural gas industry prepares for storms during hurricane season. Use the audio player below to listen, and follow along with the show notes. I hope you find it informative.

Feel free to leave a question in the comments section of this post.

Show Notes:

00:15 Jane discusses forecasts for this year's hurricane season and welcomes Tim Sampson and Roland Goodman - both of API - to EnergyTomorrow Radio.

01:10 There are about 3,800 production platforms in federal waters offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and about 20 off the coast of California. There are 74 drilling rigs operating offshore.

01:39 In the industry's hurricane preparation, the top priority of Gulf operators is the safety of employees and personnel working on the offshore facilities. As a storm approaches, operations are shut down and everyone is evacuated.

02:13 Each facility has a shut down system for an event such as a major storm to avoid dangerous situations and other problems from developing. Production is closed down in the event that a storm causes the platform to be affected.

02:47 The oil and natural gas industry is operating in an increasingly challenging environment. Hurricane Ike was a slow moving storm that generated large waves over a long period of time, and industry damage assessments and research have reinforced the need to continuously improve the design criteria of structures for platforms located in the Gulf.

03:23 API plans to publish a new bulletin covering post-hurricane inspections to help operators determine if a structure has sustained enough damage to affect personnel safety and the integrity of the structure.

04:09 For fixed structures in shallow water, movement of the seafloor during a storm can contribute to structure damage. Floating structures have performed well during recent storms, but some have experienced significant damage to the topside equipment. Overall, the performance of structures recently updated to newer API standards have demonstrated the industry's effectiveness in improving standards and practices, minimizing damage to the offshore infrastructure and limiting supply disruptions.

04:57 Pipelines did experience some damage from the powerful storms, but the shut-in systems avoided significant oil spills. According to the Minerals Management Service (MMS), less than 1,000th of one percent of the oil produced in the U.S. has spilled into the environment.

05:55 Government policies restrict the industry from exploring and operating in 85 percent of other areas. The government needs to be encouraged to open up those areas to explore for new sources of oil and natural gas.