49 Gulf Platforms Destroyed by Ike, Reports MMS

Friday, September 19, 2008

A total of 49 offshore oil and natural gas production platforms were destroyed, or damaged beyond repair, by Hurricane Ike - which ripped through the Gulf of Mexico a week ago.

The figure, based on data collated from the Minerals Management Service’s (MMS) latest rig count, shows that nearly 1.3% of the 3,800 offshore platforms in the Gulf were victims of Ike’s unforgiving nature.

The MMS oversees all oil and gas operations in the Gulf for the Federal Government.

The collective production capacity of the 49 fatal platforms stood at around 13,000 barrels per day (bpd), and 84 million cubic feet of natural gas each day.

Forty-four of the affected rigs, produced less than 1,000 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day. The remaining five produced between 1,000 and 5,000 BOE per day.

The estimated production capacity for the entire Gulf region is 1.3 million barrels of oil, and 7.4 billion cubic feet of gas a day; most of which remains shut down, according to reports on Thursday.

Threats from hurricanes since late August have already cut supply by more than 20 million barrels of oil in the Gulf, eating into supplies and sending gasoline prices hurtling upwards on the forecourts.

The interior government department added in its updated report upon operations that five gas transmission pipeline systems sustained damage, the extent of which is not yet known. The report also said that it was too early to say whether there has been any oil spills.

Peter Beutel, President of Cameron Hanover, based in Connecticut, said: “There appears to be some long-term damage in the Gulf of Mexico which is going to make a mark on inventories.”

Of some of the major oil companies operating in the region, including Chevron and BP reported that they owned platforms which were toppled during the biggest hit to the oil industry since hurricanes Katrina and Rita, in 2005 - which collectively destroyed around 100 rigs.

A spokesman for Chevron, said: "We're unable to say how many, or which ones, at this time." Although he was able to speculate that the affected platforms were situated in shallower water along the sea shelf.

BP, meanwhile, said that the drilling derrick - the archetypical tower - on its Mad Dog platform had been toppled into the sea, adding that it was too early to say when the platform could resume production.

A quarter of all oil produced in the U.S. comes from the Gulf, though about 93% production is currently shut in. About 77% of the Gulf’s gas production, which accounts for 15% of the nation’s production, also remains shut-in.

This article is for information and discussion purposes only and does not form a recommendation to invest or otherwise. The value of an investment may fall. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser. More

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