WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) has been issuing daily situation reports on the energy supply situation following Hurricane Katrina.

According to DOE, approximately 590,000 customers remained without electric power in Louisiana and Mississippi due to Hurricane Katrina. This is down by over 2.1 million from a peak of 2.7 million customers that were without power after the hurricane struck the region.

DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its Short Term Energy Outlook and estimated that normal operations of oil and gas production and distribution would be achieved by December 2005.

Natural gas transmission pipelines in the path of Katrina survived with minimal damage. Four natural gas processing plants accounting for roughly 5.5 billion cubic feet per day are currently not operating due to hurricane-induced damage. These plants can potentially be bypassed for a period of time while repairs are made with an acceptable impact on natural gas specifications, stated DOE.

However, there are concerns. The U.S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) reported that 52 energy-production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico were missing and 58 were damaged by the hurricane, nearly double the number of missing or damaged platforms reported earlier. Workers have returned to many offshore platforms restoring about half of the daily output from the Gulf, but recovery has slowed.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the "bearish news on the pace of infrastructure repairs raised specific concerns about the supply of natural gas for the coming home-heating season." Companies continue to assess damage in the Gulf to determine which pipelines, hub facilities, and platforms will require repairs.

Entergy Gas Operations is continuing with assessment and restoration efforts in the French Quarter, central business district, and uptown New Orleans. The natural gas system in Algiers is completely restored.

Publication date: 09/12/2005