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In Katrina’s Wake

New Orleans, 29 Sept. (USCG)

The destruction left by Hurricane Katrina’s rampage through the Gulf Coast is still being assessed—a process that is going to take time.

Early indications are, however, that this will be one of the worst storms in terms of loss of life and property. Insurers are already girding themselves for losses that could be as high as $26 billion.

The long-term affect on oil and gas production and refining still is not clear. Crews need to get back out to rigs to assess damages, refineries need to be inspected and brought carefully back online, pipelines need to be assessed. All of this takes time.

By the numbers, however, this is what we know as of 11:30 AM Central time on 30 August, from the US Minerals Management Service:

  • 645 manned platforms (78.75%) and 90 rigs (67.16%) remain evacuated.

  • Current total shut-in oil production in the Gulf is 1,427,969 barrels per day—equivalent to 95.2 % of daily oil production in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Cumulative shut-in oil production for the storm period to date (26 Aug–30 Aug) is 4,635,751 barrels—equivalent to 0.847% of the yearly production of oil in GOM.

  • Total shut-in gas production is 8.798 billion cubic feet per day—equivalent to 87.99% of the daily GOM gas production. Cumulative shut-in gas production is 25.441 BCF—equivalent to 0.697% of annual production.

Other items:

  • Shell’s Mars plat from, which accounts for some 15% of GOM output at 220,000 barrels a day, sustained some damage, according to a brief aerial assessment by the company. (NYT) (No word yet about the giant Thunderhorse, which was damaged earlier this year in a lesser hurricane.)

  • Refineries that have completely shut down—which take some as yet undetermined time to restart—include (OGJ):

    • Chevron, Pascagoula, 325,000 bpd
    • Valero Energy, St. Charles, 260,000 bpd
    • Motiva Enterprises, Convent, 255,000 bpd
    • Motiva Enterprises, Norco, 242,000 bpd
    • ConocoPhillips, Alliance, 247,000 bpd
    • Marathon Oil, Garyville, 245,000 bpd
    • Chalmette Refining, 187,200 bpd
    • Murphy Oil, Meraux, 125,000 bpd

  • Some six drilling rigs appear to be adrift (including one that broke apart in drydock and smacked into one of Alabama’s largest bridges): two from Shell, and an unknown number from Ensco, Transocean and Noble. Drifting rigs can cause damage to the undersea infrastructure. (Reuters)

Last year’s Hurricane Ivan, a Category 3 storm with lower winds and waves, inflicted damage on oil production that took months to repair.

A sobering reminder: peak hurricane season has yet to start.

Ongoing tracking and insider views over at The Oil Drum.



Lots of folks are going to be buying new cars in the next 6 weeks, at a time when gas prices are the highest (nominally) that they've ever been. Let's hope they choose wisely...


Our hearts go out to everyone involved. Hopefully they & local gov'ments can consider wise use of resources as they rebuild. Urban memorial parks & wetlands in the lowest areas might be a better use of some of those lands where buildings will be razed.

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