Hurricane Lili 2002

A late season hurricane in early October 2002, Lili peaked as a Category 4 in the Gulf of Mexico but rapidly weakened as it approached the Louisiana coastline. A BP spokesman reported that offshore platform sensors recorded 150 mph winds and 50-foot swells. The final toll for Hurricane Lili was:

Rig:

Rowan Houston

Date:

02 October 2002

Location:

Gulf of Mexico

Summary

Prior to Lili, the Rowan Houston jack-up was drilling for Anadarko Petroleum adjacent to a production platform in Ship Shoal Block 207. It was evacuated 2 days prior to Lili's passage over the Gulf, standing with the hull pre-loaded and jacked-up 63 feet above the water. After the hurricane, the rig's severed legs were found leaning over on location, and the sunken hull was found resting on the seabed approximately 1600 feet north-west.

Initial reports speculated that the Rowan Houston had been toppled after a collision with the drifting MODU Ocean Lexington, but this was later proved not to be the case. Inspection revealed that the starboard leg had initiated the collapse, with possible failure of the gear train-deck connection of the starboard leg during the hurricane. As the hull fell towards the water, the substructure and derrick may have impacted the starboard leg, causing the observed impact damage. The hull then drifted off and sank approximately 1600 feet north-west of its pre-storm location. The rig was subsequently salvaged by SMIT.

Rig:

Nabors Dolphin 105

Date:

02 October 2002

Location:

Gulf of Mexico

Summary

In September 2002, the Nabors Offshore Dolphin 105, a mat supported jack-up, was located in Ship Shoal Block 126 and was undertaking workover operations for BP. As with other rigs in the path of the hurricane, the well was shut-in and the crew evacuated prior to the storm's passage.

After Lili, the jack-up was found capsized and broken up. Inspection showed that the four legs had been broken at various heights, with stumps still attached to and supporting the inverted mat at sea level. High waves caused by Lili are thought to have impacted on the hull underside, lifting and dropping the rig and causing it to slide along the seafloor. The rig may have become unstable in the storm's high winds, eventually overturning and breaking up. The sunken main hull was found partially buried in seafloor sediment and broken into several large sections sitting in a trench, indicating that the mat had been swept along by the hurricane's high winds and seas. The jack-up's remains were subsequently salvaged by Bisso Marine.

Rig:

BP Eugene Island 322 Platform A

Date:

02 October 2002

Location:

Gulf of Mexico

Summary

Two platforms disappeared completely as a result of Hurricane Lili and a number of others were found to be leaning and severely damaged. BP's Platform A on Eugene Island Block 322, shown here, was pushed over by Lili's winds and came to rest leaning against a neighbouring platform. The platform was damaged beyond repair.

Sources:

MMS Preliminary Report
MMS Hurricane Lili Report PDF document
Rigzone
SMIT Projects

Photos
1-2. MMS Hurricane Lili Report PDF document
3. SMIT Projects
4-5. MMS Hurricane Lili Report PDF document
6. MMS PDF document
7. Toolpusher