A study was carried out to determine the probability of avoiding severe weather conditions generated by historical hurricanes to improve the management of dynamically-positioned (DP) drilling vessels operating in the Gulf of Mexico during hurricane season. Rather than staying on location during an approaching hurricane, DP drilling vessels secure well operations, pull riser, and evade the hurricane.
The study considers several factors affecting the measure of success including inherent errors in forecasting hurricane strength, track and speed of advance; types and speeds of vessels; vessel sensitivity to wind and wave conditions; evasion time and direction of evasion; location of the drilling site relative to the hurricane track; and escape route water depth limitations.
The results provide a statistical basis for the required evasion time and would be part of the Hurricane Evacuation Plan that stakeholders agree upon to achieve acceptable risk. The simulations could also be used in a training program for captains and considered in the tactical decision-making process regarding when to leave the site and in which direction to go.