BSEE Readies for 2018 Hurricane Season

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NEW ORLEANS – The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (BSEE) Hurricane Response Team is ready to support offshore oil and gas operators as they implement their preparedness plans for hurricane season 2018.

BSEE continuously works with operators to ensure safety during hurricane and other weather-related response efforts and to minimize the disruption to offshore energy production.

Specific reporting requirements are found in Notice to Lessees 2015-G02. The notice clarifies reporting requirements related to personnel evacuation, production curtailment, and shut-in activity. This information is required to help mitigate risks associated with hurricanes and tropical storms on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

Reporting and monitoring continues during storms and until operations return to normal following the severe weather.

Through an interagency collaboration, U.S. Coast Guard personnel are embedded within BSEE’s Hurricane Response Team to better coordinate response activities should they be required.

Meantime, the National Weather Service has issued an El Niño watch for next fall and winter, raising the prospects for cooler, wetter weather across most of the United States and a significantly milder late hurricane season.

The weather service’s Climate Prediction Center estimated the chance for an El Niño — a cycle that begins when warm tropical Pacific water moves east — at 50 percent during the fall, rising to 65 percent in the winter.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issues a hurricane season forecast each spring, and its forecast for the 2018 season specifies a 75-percent chance that this year’s storm activity will be at normal or above-normal levels.

There’s a 70-percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms — those with winds of 39 mph or higher. Of these, five to nine could become hurricanes, with one to four turning into major hurricanes (category 3 or above).