In the past few years there have been several large hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico that have destroyed or damaged over 200 fixed offshore platforms. These include hurricanes lvan (2004), Katrina (2005) and Rita (2005). Prior to these, the most recent hurricane to cause this level of damage was hurricane Andrew in 1992. Below water damage consisted of separated underwater braces, buckled braces, broken legs, and cracked connections. Above water damage consisted of wind and wave damage to decks and topsides equipment. Interestingly there has been little if any pile damage in any of these hurricanes. Although some newer platforms suffered damage and even destruction, most of the destroyed and damaged platforms were of older vintage and designed to American Petroleum Institute (API) Recommended Practice 2A-WSD (RP2A) practices that have since been improved. This paper summarizes the types of damage and destruction that has been found, including likely causes. It describes how some of this damage correlates to API design procedures. The work is based upon a series of projects funded by the Minerals Management Service (MMS) to study the effects of hurricanes on these types of offshore facilities.

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