Eight hurricanes predicted for 2010 Atlantic hurricane season

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Above average hurricane activity is predicted for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, according to The Tropical Meteorology Project aColorado State University.

In a report released today by Philip Klotzbach and William Gray, the respected hurricane experts predicted that there would be 15 named storms in the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season. Eight of which are expected to develop into actual hurricanes. This prediction is a significant one in that the average number of hurricanes from 1950 to 2000 has been 5.9.

Furthermore, the group expects to see four intense hurricanes during the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season.

According to the report, the chance that a major hurricane, measuring a category 3, 4 or 5, will make landfall somewhere in the US is 130 percent. Also, there is a 44 percent chance that a major hurricane will enter the Gulf of Mexico and strike the US coastline from Brownsville to the Florida Panhandle, and a 44 percent chance that one will hit the eastern coast of the US, including the Florida peninsula.

Historical Hurricanes

The Atlantic hurricane season wreaks havoc on the offshore exploration and production operations in the US Gulf of Mexico. Hurricanes in recent years have not only hampered production, they have destroyed production facilities, subsea pipelines and drilling rigs.

While the 2009 hurricane season was calm, recent hurricanes Gustav, Ike, Dolly, Rita and Katrina have cost the petroleum industry millions of dollars.

Oil & Gas Industry Is Ready

Fortunately, the MMS, as well as oil and gas companies, has revamped safety and equipment protocol to ensure not only that personnel remains safe, but also that facilities can bare the strong winds, rain and waves that hurricanes produce. These initiatives include mooring and tie-down changes, as well as the inauguration of the US Gulf of Mexico’s first FPSO.

An FPSO, or Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading vessel, is ideal for the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, because the vessel can unhook and move out of harm’s way should dangerous weather approach. This technique has been used for years in the waters of Asia Pacific, where facilities are threatened by seasonal cyclones.

Approved by the MMS in 2006, Brazilian producer Petrobras is developing the Cascade and Chinook oil fields via the region’s first FPSO, and fist production from the fields is expected in mid-2010.

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