Tuesday AM September 16th, 2008

image of oil platform after Hurricne Ike

The gasoline infrastructure that supplies 22 per cent of the nation's refining capacity is returning to life. Ed Mayberry reports.

Minerals Management Service regional director Lars Herbst says initial assessments show that Hurricane Ike destroyed a few production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Twenty-eight of the 3800 platforms in the Gulf of Mexico — the production platforms — were destroyed by Hurricane Ike. Several other platforms have been reported as significantly damaged. To date, most of the destroyed platforms include older facilities with small levels of production. We expect additional reports of damage as the weather allows more flights out to these areas, and operators are able to board the platforms to begin inspection."

Early reports indicate there is also pipeline damage, although systems have to be tested to determine the extent. The next stage is to transition to resuming production in the Gulf.

"At this point we expect production to start coming up on the eastern side of the Gulf, especially the deepwater eastern side. We'll also be analyzing what can be done from MMS' side to help resume production. This could include things such as barging oil from facilities, temporary flaring of natural gas and re-routing of product through existing pipeline systems that were not damaged. Initial estimates are that the destroyed production platforms produced a total of 11,000 barrels of oil per day and 82 million cubic feet of gas per day."

Assessment teams have been inspecting refineries for structural damage, electrical problems, road safety and flooding. At least 14 Gulf Coast refineries sustained damage. It can take up to two weeks to restart a plant, so existing supplies are being used to restock gas stations.

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

 

Share This Content