Hurricane Laura came ashore in the heart of oil and gas territory. The storm’s destruction should serve as a wake-up call to companies operating along the Gulf Coast. Hurricane season is a reminder for all in the oil and gas industry to review their disaster plan and emergency response plans. Sustained winds, debris, shifting shorelines, and massive flooding are always a possibility this time of year. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating your Hurricane Plan.
Before the Storm
- Evacuate all non-essential personnel and begin the process of shutting down production days in advance of a tropical storm or hurricane moving toward or near the drilling and production operations.
- As the storm gets closer, evacuate all personnel from the drilling rigs and platforms and shut down production. Drill ships may relocate to a safe location. Operations in areas not forecast to take a direct hit from the storm often should be shut down as well because storms can change direction with little notice.
During the Storm
- Many offshore drilling rigs are equipped with GPS locator systems, which allow federal officials and drilling contractors to remotely monitor the rigs during and after a hurricane. If a rig is pulled offsite by the storm, locator systems allow crews to find and recover the rig as quickly and safely as possible.
- Perform regular maintenance and check on any technology and equipment that may help to keep track of the work site during the impact of a hurricane or tropical storm.
After the Storm
- Check land sites for downed power lines and trees before allowing workers to begin work. Clear all debris from walking and working surfaces. Be sure to stress the importance of fall safety protection to workers when rainy or windy conditions exist. It’s also a good idea to remind the crew to slow down a bit and take shorter steps when walking, especially if the surfaces are wet.
- Necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) is important on all construction sites. Hard hats should be worn at all times to protect against falling objects or slips, trips, or falls. Workers should wear waterproof boots with non-slip soles. Muddy conditions are also a possibility, so make sure the crew is constantly aware of their surroundings.
- If facilities and ancillary facilities, such as pipelines that carry oil and natural gas, are undamaged and ready to accept shipments, operators can begin restarting production. Drilling rigs also can commence operations.