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60 Drilling Platforms Destroyed by Hurricanes

Hurricanes Gustav and Ike destroyed 60 drilling platforms that drew about 1 percent of the oil and natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico, the Interior Department said Wednesday in a final damage assessment of the two September storms

Hurricanes Gustav and Ike destroyed 60 drilling platforms that drew about 1 percent of the oil and natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico, the Interior Department said Wednesday in a final damage assessment of the two September storms.

The platforms produced 13,657 barrels, or 1.05 percent, of the oil and nearly 94.5 cubic feet, or 1.3 percent, of the natural gas taken daily from the Gulf of Mexico, said Interior's Minerals Management Service, which oversees the federal offshore oil and gas leasing program.

The agency also reported an additional 31 platforms were extensively damaged by the two storms. The damaged platforms were in waters from 37 feet to 477 feet deep. They are estimated to take three to six months to repair, the agency said. An additional 93 platforms sustained moderate damage that could be repaired within three months.

The agency said 2,127 oil and gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico were exposed to Gustav's hurricane-force winds on Sept. 1. Ike followed 12 days later. There are 3,800 production platforms in Gulf waters, from single wells in 10 feet of water to huge, multiwell platforms in water more than 7,000 feet deep.

Three years ago, Hurricane Katrina destroyed 44 platforms, and soon after Hurricane Rita destroyed 64.

Author: Jo Amey