Katrina likely to provide much work for support vessel industry

News - September 1, 2005

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Aerial views show the extent of the damage at Port Fourchon.

Cleaning up and helping to re-start the offshore oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to provide much work for US-based support vessel operators, as it has in the wake of other recent hurricanes. However, the scale of the work involved and the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina is thought to be much more extensive than that caused by other hurricanes in recent years, and the economic consequences much more serious.

News sources in the US suggest that Katrina may have effectively crippled around 95 per cent of oil production in the Gulf, with energy traders quickly having been forced to bid up futures prices to record levels.

Many oil company executives have reportedly taken to the air in private aircraft to try to survey the damage. The Gulf of Mexico accounts for about 23 per cent of domestic natural gas and 30 per cent of oil in the US, according to the US Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service, and the hurricane has adversely affected almost all oil production in the Gulf and approximately 88 per cent of natural gas production on the outer Continental shelf.

Port Fourchon, which normally processes 18 per cent of US domestic oil and gas and around 13 per cent of US energy imports, suffered extensive storm damage and is now inaccessible due to floodwaters, said the US Energy Department.

Various US news sources say the hurriance blew one of Noble's platforms 17 miles away from its moorings, and Rowan at one time reported that one of its rigs may have sunk.

The Alabama Port Authority said another rig washed against a pier and a bulk material handling terminal at the Port of Mobile.

Offshore Shipping Online would like to express its support and send its best wishes to everyone in the support vessel industry and in the offshore oil and gas industry as a whole in the area, as the US struggles to come to terms with the effects of Hurricane Katrina.



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