Hurricane Impacts in the Gulf of Mexico

The US Minerals Management Service (MMS) has just released its analysis of the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico. The report details:
– the destruction of 115 oil platforms and the damage of 52 others;
– the damage of 183 pipelines, 64 of those major pipelines larger than 10″ in diameter; and
– 418 “minor” pollution incidents. (A minor incident is less than 500 barrels of oil spilled that doesn’t reach the coastline.)

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were the greatest natural disasters to oil and gas development in the history of the Gulf of Mexico according to Chris Oynes, Regional Director of the U.S. Minerals Management Service. MMS estimates that 3,050 of the Gulf’s 4,000 platforms and 22,000 of the 33,000 miles of Gulf pipelines were in the direct path of either of the hurricanes.

Because of the large amount of infrastructure in the path of hurricane-force winds and waves, the amount of damage was substantial. Category 4 Rita actually caused more destruction and damage than Category 5 Katrina, according to the tally, due to its path.

The full MMS report is available at: