Like many Operators in the Gulf of Mexico Shell Exploration and Production Company's (Shell) production was impacted by Hurricane Ivan. Three Shell operated facilities sustained major damage as a result of Hurricane Ivan: Ram-Powell (VK 956A), Bud (Main Pass 252) and Cognac (MC194A). This paper only addresses surface facilities damage to Shell operated properties. Shell Pipeline response to address pipeline damage from Hurricane Ivan will be addressed in OTC paper 17734. The following areas will be covered:

  • Upfront planning efforts

  • Response and recovery efforts

  • Surface facility damage and repairs at each location

  • Conclusions and learnings.

Organizational Response Prior to Landfall

The Shell Hurricane Incident Command Team is a multi-disciplined team that consists of team members with backgrounds in Drilling, Construction, Logistics, Regulatory Affairs and Production. The team meets anytime / anywhere / anyway depending on the circumstances of a specific storm. Typical planning includes monitoring of a wave or low while in the Atlantic or in the Gulf of Mexico. Once a wave or low is established preliminary evacuation and recovery plans are developed. A week before the storm impact is predicted, the team conferences several times a day to make sure plans are moving forward. As a storm approaches, a small team stays behind in New Orleans or at Shell's Robert Training Center in Robert, LA depending on landfall location to begin recovery efforts. As part of the planning process, blocks of hotel rooms are reserved, emergency generators are placed on standby, transportation logistics are coordinated, diving crews and remotely-operated vehicles are readied and emergency communications systems are set up. These plans are communicated to Shell management, key operational, drilling and construction personnel. Evacuation plans and production forecasts are updated and modified every 24 hours and then on a more frequent schedule as the storm approaches. Typically 72 hours before a storm is predicted to make landfall the planning team meets every 4 to 6 hours and updates the evacuation strategy as needed.

Shell's Hurricane Incident Command Team began meeting and carefully watching Hurricane Ivan on September 9, 2004. Around September 13, 2004 the Hurricane Incident Command Team directed more than 850 Shell personnel to evacuate from production and drilling platforms in the eastern and central Gulf of Mexico. All affected facilities were shut-in, secured and evacuated. All evacuations and return to work activities were executed safely.

Initial Response After Landfall

Shell's post hurricane response and return to normal activities is based on the severity of a storm. Due to the severity of Ivan Shell decided an initial fly-over would be the best way to assess the initial damage. Therefore, on the morning of September 17, 2004 Shell contracted a long-range fixed wing plane to fly over the assets nearest the eye of the storm and the assets with the largest loss of production implications.

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