WASHINGTON (AFP) - At least 20 oil rigs and platforms are missing in the Gulf of Mexico and a ruptured gas pipeline is on fire after Hurricane Katrina tore through the region, a US Coast Guard official said.
The anonymous source quoted at The Oil Drum had this to say before that report hit the wires:
There are MANY production platforms missing (as in not visible from the air). This means they have been totally lost. I am talking about 10's of platforms, not single digit numbers. Each platform can have from 4 to 100+ wells on it. Most larger ones have 20-30 wells in this area, with numerous caisson wells. They are on their sides, on the bottom of the gulf - they will likely be left as reef material, provided we can get permission. MMS regulations require us to plug each of the wells that were on these platforms - HUGE cost now, as the platforms are gone... Hopefully, MMS will grant `abandon in place' status for these wiped out structures.
We also set individual wells as satellites and pipe them back to existing platforms. These stand-alone wells are called caisson wells. 90% of those in the storm path are bent over, rendering them a total loss, We would have to remove the existing bent structure and drill a new well, as bent pipe is basically unusable.
We utilize platforms as gathering hubs. We pipe the raw oil/water to them and then send it on for separation, or separate it there and send finished oil on. Damage to a hub means everything going to the hub is offline indefinitely. There are +/- 15 HUBS missing. MISSING!! As in we cannot find them from the air.
Thus even if the wells feeding the hub are ok, we have nowhere to pump the oil to...
Ah yes, the vengeful wrath of the space-god... I can hear the thunder cracking now.
If you don't know what this news means, then I humbly suggest you carefully inspect your usual sources of economic news and information for qualifying language in the reports you are getting for telltale phrases like "depending on how long it will take to bring the equipment back online" and discount their happy-talk until they sober up.