This summer’s back-to-back punches from hurricanes Gustav and Ike destroyed 60 oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, but the structures represented only a minute percentage of the region’s overall production, the U.S. Minerals Management Service said.
Before the storms, the Gulf of Mexico had about 3,800 production platforms accounting for roughly 25 percent of domestic oil output and 15 percent of natural gas. They can range from small barges in 10-foot depths that produce 100 barrels a day to massive structures in 7,000 feet of water with daily capacities of thousands of barrels.
In its final damage assessment, MMS said the platforms destroyed by Gustav and Ike accounted for about 1 percent of the Gulf’s oil and natural gas production.
The platforms produced 13,657 barrels, or 1.05 percent, of the oil and nearly 94.5 million cubic feet, or 1.3 percent, of the natural gas taken daily from the Gulf of Mexico, said Interior’s MMS, which oversees the federal offshore oil and gas leasing program.
The MMS also said 31 platforms with extensive damage could take from three to six months to repair. Another 93 with moderate damage could take one to three months to fix.
The agency said 2,127 oil and gas production platforms were exposed to Gustav’s hurricane-force winds on Sept. 1. Ike followed 12 days later.
MMS said it conducted the assessment in coordination with oil and gas operators.
The storms shut down Gulf production for several weeks in late August and September, and shuttered several refineries in the region too. They caused gasoline shortages and price spikes above $4 a gallon throughout the Southeast.
But the storms caused far less damage than Katrina and Rita in 2005, a one-two punch that destroyed 108 production platforms, damaged hundreds of others and shut down production for months, in some cases.
The most-recent storms also combined to knock out power to nearly 8 million homes and businesses, some for as long as two weeks. Many who had power restored after Gustav roared through Louisiana lost it again when Ike plowed into the Texas coast.
Parts of the Miwest also were devastated by Ike as winds pushing 70 mph roared through the area.
Utility giant Entergy Corp., based in New Orleans, recorded its second largest number of outages ever during Gustav, trailing only the damage caused by Katrina.
AP Energy Writer Mark Williams in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.
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