Last year’s storms color this year’s leasing issues

The oil and gas producing industry of the US Gulf of Mexico limped into 2006 battered by hurricanes but braced for politics. The conditions are related.As reported elsewhere in this supplement, the gulf’s producing infrastructure took a twin hammering from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in August and September of 2005. In a Jan. 19 report, the US Minerals Management Service estimated that 3,050 of the gulf’s 4,000 platforms and 22,000 of its 33,000 miles of pipelines lay in the direct path of at least one of the storms.Katrina destroyed 46 platforms and damaged 20 others, according to MMS. At the time of its report, MMS had learned of damage to 100 pipelines in federal waters. Ri...

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