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49 oil platforms in Gulf of Mexico destroyed by Hurricane Ike

At least 49 of the 3,800 offshore oil and gas production platform, were destroyed by Hurricane Ike as it rampaged across the Gulf of Mexico

At least 49 of the 3,800 offshore oil and gas production platform, were destroyed by Hurricane Ike as it rampaged across the Gulf of Mexico. Most remain shut down whilst some may not be rebuilt, the Interior Department said Thursday.

It said in the latest hurricane damage assessment that the platforms altogether accounted for 13,000 barrels of oil and 84 million cubic feet of natural gas a day. There are more than 3,800 production platforms in the Gulf producing 1.3 million barrels of oil and 7 billion cubic feet of gas each day.

Additional damage reported includes three jackup and four oil drilling rigs had been destroyed and another extensively damaged.

The report by Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) said the agency was conducting helicopter flyovers of the Gulf waters to investigate unconfirmed reports of oil spills and oil sheens, but that it was too early to issue any definitive findings.

"There are no reports of oil impacting the shoreline or affecting birds and wildlife from releases in the Gulf of Mexico federal waters," said the agency.

On-going reports indicate that there are five gas transmission pipeline systems with damage. The full extent of damage will not be available until operators are able to test the systems. MMS is analyzing the impact that this may have on resuming production.
Meanwhile, the Energy Department reported that as of mid-afternoon Thursday, 12 of 31 refineries in Texas and Louisiana, with a total production capacity of 3 million barrels a day, remained shut down as a result of the hurricane that swept through the region on Sept. 13. A number of the others are operating at reduced runs.

More than 2.3 million electricity customers in six states as far away as Pennsylvania remain without power as a result of the hurricane and its aftermath of heavy rain, said the department. Of those, 1.6 million customers are in Texas.

Other states affected are Louisiana (18,804 customers), Kentucky (167,740), Indiana (36,800), Ohio (488,900) and Pennsylvania (16,730), according to the department.

About 93 percent of the Gulf's crude oil production remains shut down as does 77.6 percent of its natural gas production, said the Minerals Management Service.

The Energy Department said 10 of 39 natural gas processing facilities also were still closed as a result of the Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Gustav which hit two weeks earlier, giving the Gulf's energy infrastructure a glancing blow.

The Gulf region accounts for 25 percent of the country's domestic oil production, or about 1.3 million barrels a day, and 15 percent of its natural gas supplies, or about 7 billion cubic feet of gas a day.

MMS has been conducting helicopter fly-overs to investigate reports of oil spills/sheens. While it is too early for definitive reports, there are no reports of oil impacting the shoreline or affecting birds and wildlife from releases in the GoM federal waters, according to MMS.

Author: Jo Amey