How a Rig Prepares for a Hurricane
Hurricanes can be disastrous for oil rigs and offshore oil platforms. In the Gulf of Mexico alone, hundreds of rigs are expected to withstand the disastrous effects of numerous hurricanes that pass through its waters each season. To compensate for the great strain put on these rigs by hurricanes, safety measures and precautions must be carefully followed.
According to drilling experts, a rig is secured for a hurricane by putting four extra support systems in the ground and attaching it to the rig. Four support anchors are attached to the four corners of the rig before hurricane season approaches. For precautionary measures, many companies will attach two extra anchors in between two of the corner anchors so that the rig has eight anchors holding it to the ocean floor. These support systems are meant to ensure the utmost safety of the rigs.
Many rigs take the following steps in case of a storm:
- Evacuation: Before a tropical storm nears a rig, companies evacuate non-essential workers and begin to secure and shut down the rig.
- Shut-Down: Once all personnel is evacuated, production is shut down.
- Flyovers: Once a storm has passed, companies will evaluate the rigs from the air and assess damage from a helicopter or other aircraft.
- Location Monitoring: Officials are able to monitor the rigs’ locations during a hurricane and track the rig if it is moved by the storm.
- Assessment: Operators physically assess offshore facilities for damage.
- Restarting: If no damage is done, the rig will restart production and return to normal operation.
Owners and operators of offshore platforms and rigs are responsible to care for the safety of their employees and ensure the safety of the work environment before and after a hurricane.
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