WASHINGTON - In addition to the tragic loss of life and property in the Gulf Coast states, Hurricane Katrina has also significantly impacted the production of oil and gas and the refining of oil into gasoline and other products.

According to the U.S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS), the hurricane had resulted in the evacuation of 645 platforms and 90 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, which account for 88 percent of the natural gas production and 95 percent of the oil production in the Gulf. A press release from Williams, a natural gas company, notes that on-shore facilities such as natural gas processing plants and compressor systems were also shut down, while natural gas pipelines continued operating at reduced capacity. Press reports indicated that several oil refineries were also shut down, and the region has suffered from extensive power outages.

The full extent of the damage to these facilities is not yet known, but the latest reports say that oil and natural gas production in the Gulf is gradually returning.

Publication date: 09/05/2005