Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed 108 oil and natural-gas offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, and another 53 might not be repaired until next year, according to press reports of assessments by the Department of the Interior.
The destroyed platforms accounted for about 1.7 percent of Gulf oil production and 0.9 percent of natural-gas output, Interior Secretary Gail Norton reportedly stated. Norton added, however, that fully 90 percent of production of Gulf oil and 72 percent of natural gas remain unavailable because of damage to platforms, pipelines, refineries, and processing plants. According to Reuters, 12 oil refineries and 21 gas processing plants remain offline.
MarketWatch also quoted Norton’s statement that the recovery has been slowed by the displacement of offshore workers and their families. The Gulf region has so far seen only “incremental progress” in restoring production, she reportedly state at a news briefing.
More than 300 offshore platforms that were evacuated as the storms approached still remain unstaffed, she added, reported Reuters. According to the wire service, Norton added that the destroyed platforms would probably not be rebuilt; that repairs to the most heavily damaged platforms might not be completed until next year; but that restaffing evacuated but undamaged platforms might be completed 10 days.