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Katrina Gathers Force, Bears Down on Key Oil and Gas Fields and Facilities


After plowing across Florida, Hurricane Katrina (the 11th named storm of the season), has crossed into the Gulf, gathered more force, and now appears to be headed directly for critical oil-producing platforms and a key hub, Port Fourchon, La.

The National Hurricane Center has said that Katrina could strengthen to a Category 4 or possibly a Category 5 storm before making landfall. Only three Category 5 storms have reached the US mainland in the past 150 years. Category 4 storms have winds of more than 130 miles an hour, while Category 5 storms have winds of more than 155 miles an hour.

Port Fourchon, which is the only one in the region that handles supertankers, accounts for about 13% of U.S. oil imports. About 27% of U.S. domestic production comes through the port’s pipelines.

The Oil Drum is providing some detailed tracking and analysis of the storm, with plots of major fields, the location of ThunderHorse (damaged earlier in the hurricane season), and discussion.

The first graphic is probability swath for Katrina with the recently damaged Thunder Horse platform as the red dot, and the other purple dot represents the Mad Dog development that will ramp up to 100,000 bpd; the Holstein development that will also produce, at peak, around 100,000 bpd of oil; and the Atlantis field that will begin production next year and will ramp up to around 200,000 bpd in all. Put together these projects have the potential of around 650,000 bpd, but as can be seen, they are sitting in an uncomfortable spot relative to the track of the Katrina.


Mikhail Capone

I've been wondering, how does this year rate as far as huriccanes & oil production disruption.

It might seem a lot worse than usual because last year I wasn't (and the media wasn't) paying as much attention, or it might actually be worse.

The Oil Drum (profgoose)

Mike, if the models converge and hold up (a very big if), this could be a doooosey. The GOMEX (an experiemental model of damage to oil production) just came out on their 4p edt forecast predicting numbers like 91% short term (<10 day) loss of oil production, 68% mid-term (10-30 day) loss, and 24% long-term (30-day).

If that holds...well, it will be less than pretty.

Of course, this is weather we're dealing with (I keep telling myself that every other minute...) and we're 36 hrs+ from landfall.

Hopefully, it will not pan out this would be quite bad.


it'd be baaad time for terrorist bombers to show up at these places.


Hopefully, it will not pan out this would be quite bad.

I'm all for natural disruptions in the flow of oil and natural gas. I'm not hoping people die and I don't like the idea of destruction to the natural environment, but supply shocks drive prices up.

Higher prices stimulate (a) consumer choices to purchase vehicles that consume less fuel and efficiency tools for their homes that result in less fuel consumption, and (b) stimulate research and seed funding for "greener" projects ranging from wind turbines to squeezing coal into gasoline using the F-T process.


Yikes! 175 MPH winds this morning, that Category 5 and has yet to hit.

tony chilling

I agree with the comments from Stomy that higher prices will force Americans to think about buying fuel efficent cars. However, the mind will adjust to the pain and continue the oil habit.
Except, one day, our ecomony will be stopped because of Hurricanes, terrorist bombs, or whatever.
Wouldn't it be great, if some day Profgroose would be tracking Silicon ingot production, for solar energy
instead of oil?
Our Government needs to force the transtion from fossil fuels to wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, biomass, and Atomic.


F-T fuel is a lot "browner" than petroleum if you take any account of CO2 emissions.

What's "green" is a plug-in hybrid.  If we take anthracite coal as 100% carbon and 13,000 BTU/lb, an IGCC powerplant with a heat rate of 8550 BTU/kWh (~40% efficiency) would emit ~1090 g/kWh.  Sequestering half of the CO2 at the fuel-gas cleanup and feeding the power to a plug-in Prius+ at 262 Wh/mile (10% transmission losses) yields emissions of 159 g/mile (99 g/km).

The standard Prius is rated at 104 g/km; if it was burning F-T fuel at 50% conversion efficiency without sequestration it would emit a net 208 g/km between mine and wheels.  Of course, with the electric scheme you can not only make the powerplant do double duty, you can use wind or solar to help run the vehicles.

Everyone knows that all of this stuff can be sited well inland away from hurricanes, right?

Mikhail Capone

And you can charge the plug in hybrids at night when the production from a coal power plant would be pretty much wasted anyway...


Apparently generating electricity with coal and charging cars with it is more efficient than pumping and refining and finally burning oil to do the same thing.


^ I'm not arguing that the F-T process is ready now. That's not the point at all. My point is simply that as the price of gas increases, the financial incentives to research and invest in infrastructure for other methods increases -- and some of these methods are quite green, whereas others aren't yet, but may become so if a combination of market and government forces merge at the right times and levels.

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