Skip to comments.Update on Hurricane Katrina's Damage to the Gulf Oil Patch
Posted on 09/12/2005 6:21:39 AM PDT by SauronOfMordor
...The energy situation eased for a few days this past week allowing some trucking to pass and our supplies remained at least adequate. Many gas stations were closed for long periods and the trucking situation is precarious. It appears that some substantial damage had occurred in New Orleans to 4 lines of the CSX railroad there and much rail traffic is at best being slowed seriously. By Saturday evening 9/10/2005, the situation on energy supplies has begun to return to critical levels.
The damaged areas in Alabama have reached a stable level of recovery on land. The big Yellowhammer plant is okay, and the refineries in Mobile are functional and operating. The property damage situation is now stable and in recovery mode. Rebuilding is proceeding in many areas. The only exception in Alabama is Dauphin Island and the Mississippi Sound area. It is a mess, and the highway bridge to it was destroyed. A new channel about 1000 feet wide and quite deep bisects the Island just west of the State Park Beach. Most of the structures past the large dune on the island to the west are gone.
Mississippi has essentially lost its barrier islands. In addition the Chandelier Islands of Louisiana are completely gone. All that remains of the Chandelier Islands is a few shoals. In most locations it is now deep water. These may be observed on NOAA photos at their website. In addition much of the State of Louisiana, East, and South of New Orleans has sunk. This may also be observed at the NOAA site. The dikes along the Mississippi river remain intact but most of the land adjacent almost into the city of New Orleans is gone. This extends on a line almost to Morgan City. There is some question if this is an extended storm surge (Note no such thing has been observed before) or if the area is permanently gone. The area involved is about 2000 square miles. The entire area of the state south of Baton Rouge is now in danger of sinking into the sea forever. This includes some areas into the State of Mississippi and the ENTIRE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS.
There is some question if the 30-foot storm surge didnt shift the land and cause the area to sink several feet. This if so would be mass effects of the water on a porous geologic structure. (The Oil industry caused the pores.)
As I noted in the last posting, such efforts are highly dependent on energy supplies and these are now beginning to run thin again. Given adequate supplies, the people here will handle the situation. Rebuilding is extremely energy consuming.
The situation in regards to oil and natural gas is profoundly serious. I have exerted considerable effort to get the best data available on the situation. It reads like this:
There are 21 oil refineries which produce a combined total of 47% of US Distillates that are not functioning. Of these 11 are being relit or have relit in the past 2 days. This process anticipates significant production in about 2 weeks. The relights begin a process of about 30 days to bring the plants into full production. It is precarious, dangerous work under normal circumstances. Let us wish the workers well. Let us hope they have no accidents. Such could blow up a refinery.
Six more of the refineries are expected to begin relight in the next 30 days. The total production of all of these relighting refineries would leave the USA with a deficit in supply of at least 25% of the total supply. With a few tricks the President and the EPA have tricked the supply up to get 10% more at the expense of our air. This involves Volatility Standards. This brings us up to 85% of our previous gasoline supply. Sadly the other 4 refineries are in various states of severe damage. None of these 4 is likely to produce anywhere near full capacity this year. One will require substantial rebuilding. It was the largest of all.
Off shore the situation actually might appear to be a bit better. Some 60% of off-shore oil production is actually working. The reports officially are that something like 150 rigs are severely damaged though at least 500 have yet to be evaluated as of this time. 36 rigs are sunk and several are floating free, having broken moorings. etc.. Remember here that individual numbers mean nothing. Mars (Shell) is heavily damaged and will not be producing for the rest of this year. This was Shells flagship and biggest rig. A rig may or may not be significant. Mars has internal flooding and has had severe damage to superstructures and crew quarters.
The rigs are probably the best of the news. Financial sources say that the 33,000 miles of under sea pipelines may be in real trouble. Judging by the islands I suspect this to be a serious problem. The data is inexact here.
The deep-water terminal is in disrepair but it is being recovered. It is expected to have repairs and functionality restored to its pipelines in a week or so. Access to strategic oil reserves requires this port for EU supplies to help.
Some 50% of the US Natural Gas supply is shut down due to pipeline damage and rig damage. This is the thing I was talking about in a previous posting to the PESN site when I referred to a Global Famine being a distinct possibility. It now is approaching certainty. Let us hope for the best.
The translation for anyone figuring out the details here is that the USA is going to have about a 15% or so deficit in its distillates energy supply for a year or two. This is about 2 times the 1973 Embargo damage. It is most serious. In the southeastern US we are running on fumes so to speak. We have to run on the inventories that were pre-storm production for some extended time. We were suffering some shortages prior to the storm.
More serious is the Natural Gas supply. Americans can adapt on Gasoline. Not so for Natural Gas. Natural Gas is a commodity used to directly power a lot of industry and is used extensively for Peak Loading of the Electrical Power Grid. About ½ of it is used in the manufacture of chemicals especially for making NITRATE FERTILIZER. The USA is a massive exporter of nitrate fertilizer to the rest of the world. We also use massive quantities of it. The exact tonnage of this is difficult to estimate but this loss of supply is enough to risk the loss of a very significant part of the world fertilizer supply. This is going to affect the supply of food in the world for about 2 years. This will not be a minor loss. This is why I referred to a World Wide Famine in the earlier PESN posting. It is now a definite possibility.
If the USA diverts Natural Gas to preserve the fertilizer supply, the US Power Grid will lose about 30% of its gross supply of electricity and most of its peak loading capacity. This threatens massive loss of jobs and productivity. Many industries cannot operate without the natural gas. If it does not divert this millions may starve. It is a horrible choice.
This situation leaves the USA crippled for some time to come. Even if the refineries are repaired, they may not be able to get enough crude oil for some time. Even with the strategic petroleum reserves of the EU and the USA opened, there is a serious question of the ability of the USA to return to adequate supplies for some time. The Fertilizer supply issues are a serious problem because of the spring demand in the northern hemisphere is coming all too soon for this to be recovered. This promises a problem with at least the price of food. The economic recovery and rebuilding will be hampered for some time due to the energy supply problems. This is most serious.
The causes of the problem:
There are temporary solutions and long-term solutions. To understand these solutions requires understanding that this problem was not created by a Hurricane. The problem was merely triggered by a Hurricane. The problem is about 1 part Homicide (the storm) and about 9 parts Suicide. (man made) The primary causes of the problem arise behind what focused and concentrated the facilities in this area. While the supply is largely in the area, the reason these facilities were placed so is almost entirely political.
If one looks merely at supply, the Atlantic East Coast states all have offshore oil in quantity but prohibit the drilling for various reasons. Florida, for example, probably has more oil than just about any other state. They forbid oil for aesthetic reasons. They havent considered subsidence. If the oil were drilled there the supply disruptions by even 4 storms as happened last year would have been minimal. Such a concentration as exists now would not have happened had President Bush allowed drilling in Florida off shore locations. There are massive oil deposits in US Federal Lands are not allowed to be drilled for aesthetic reasons.
None of the domestic supply issues confront the need to supply 300,000,000 immigrants with their energy supply over the next 35 years of growth that is forecast by the wide open immigration policies of the USA. The supply of energy for the USA must double in the next 35 years. No prospects or proposals have been made at a Government level to even consider this situation.
The US Income Tax left the USA mesmerized by Just in Time inventories for many years. This caused the end of local stores of fuel. It consolidated the refineries. It ended the supply store with a stock of parts and left us living by an Air Bridge to Asia for our resupply. Asia has come to believe in the instant continuous market in the USA. This term Just in Time should in emergency be viewed as Just Inadequate Treatment. This applies to epidemic, fire, flood and terrorism. The USA used to keep massive stocks of supplies for the cold war -- and does not have them now. This left the US Military fetching supplies from all over the world just to handle a Hurricane. The Income Tax must be repealed and replaced with the Fair Tax (www.fairtax.org) in order to return to having adequate supplies for emergencies.
In the long term a serious look needs to be made to removing oil from any growth picture and replacing it. The issues of land destruction by subsidence make it clear that we are going to sacrifice large areas of the USA to this industry if it continues. As this becomes known to be a problem world wide, the acceptance of this industry will be in trouble. I suppose a Bible quotation of Rev 11:18 is in order:
And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
The format of any solution must be made in the area of dispersal of the energy generation closer to the site of its use. This is for National Security reasons, as well as the practicality of not wasting large amounts of energy moving it around.
As soon as recovery moves into a more stable situation in a matter of days, the President of the USA and the US Congress should fund at levels equal to or higher than the recovery cost from this storm the research and development of alternative energy solutions. These solutions are far behind their need in being implemented. A forward-looking person would see that the USA was already in a critical energy crunch that has been made worse by a storm. This situation demands emergency level responses. It is out of hand, behind schedule and getting worse. The alternative energy solutions should approach the solution of problems with storage, transportation and the generation of energy.
On energy generation, Solar, Wind and Tidal power are modest solutions that need to be applied as soon as they can be applied. Honest assessments here note that these are only a small percentage of the solution. They are solutions nonetheless and should be applied. The problem with solar, wind and tidal is that they occur outside the schedules of the user. They require storage technology. Curiously Nuclear Power has exactly the same problem. None of these sources of energy occur under the relative control of the user. This is why oil, natural gas and coal have been so attractive. The issue was never efficiency. It was portability and on demand use. Do not forget that we must double the energy supply in just 35 years!
Some potential sources such as magnetic motors, and others should at least get decent research money. There are several technologies in play here. There are thermal devices and more that deserve research. The problem is not a lack of energy. It is timing and location at issue.
How the energy affects the world and environment has to be considered. This has to be a rational consideration. To date the development of these decisions has been under the direction of people who wished to enslave mankind for their profit. We can clearly see that this solution methodology has left us in great danger, not only of our economy, but also of our lives and even of the existence of our very land and country. The story of Hurricane Katrina has to be that of bringing clearly to the front this decision and its consequences.
The End of New Orleans:
The wetlands and coastal marshes are gone. The city now has no defense against even a more modest hurricane. The land on which it sits is sliding into the deep ocean trench. It is compressing lower every day. The location is now essentially 30 miles out in the ocean at this time. The city is already sunk below sea level.
The Mississippi river is departing west to Morgan City and the Atchafalaya. The river began its departure in earnest something close to 40 years ago. The Old River Control Structure was built to control this and has already begun to fail. The city and its environment cannot sustain it for long. Rebuilding the city of New Orleans is INSANE. Curiously large numbers of the people of New Orleans are grateful for the opportunity to leave and never come back.
Imagine if you will an Island city 60 miles off the coast of the USA subject to even worse conditions than today. Think of it sinking into the sea even further. See it having to haul its water 100 miles from the Atchafalaya, and all of its ports and facilities cut off from the river. This is the current situation plus a few years. New Orleans is doomed. Building higher dikes and stronger floodwalls will only assure a more complete destruction when it comes again. It is a complete fool's errand to rebuild the city. The people there should be relocated. The location should be considered uninsurable. The location is completely impractical.
Good article. Problem is that too many people are arguing one side or the other with political gains in mind and not stepping back and seeing the problems as problems to be solved.
We have a problem. A big one.
I just don't think we have the ability to solve it unless we can be rational.
Yeah. Rational. That died long ago...
I was just thinking the same thing. the further you read the further you get into moonbat theory. The fact of the matter is we do have an abundance of energy. We just have to drill it.
The problems we have right now were created by these environuts in the first place.
DG.... your take on this article... How much credence do you give it base upon what you now know of the situation?
Here is the NOAA website if you want to look at some of those pics mentioned.
Aparently we've had some huge solar flares on the sun too that are going to affect us.
There is just enough truth here to be seriously dangerous. Most of this is an excellent study in how to lie with statistics.
The US Income Tax left the USA mesmerized by "Just in Time" inventories for many years. This caused the end of local stores of fuel. It consolidated the refineries. It ended the supply store with a stock of parts and left us living by an Air Bridge to Asia for our resupply. Asia has come to believe in the instant continuous market in the USA. This term "Just in Time" should in emergency be viewed as "Just Inadequate Treatment." This applies to epidemic, fire, flood and terrorism. The USA used to keep massive stocks of supplies for the cold war -- and does not have them now. This left the US Military fetching supplies from all over the world just to handle a Hurricane. The Income Tax must be repealed and replaced with the "Fair Tax" (www.fairtax.org) in order to return to having adequate supplies for emergencies.
I also can't find fault with his logic unless his numbers and facts are wrong.
Overall I think it offers a farily decent description of the infrastructure damage to the energy biz in that part of the country.
Most people not involved with energy production/distribution have no idea how big a part the Gulf plays in that scheme of things. There may be some overstatement in the article, but there has clearly been a serious hit as we'll no doubt see this winter.
He poisons the whole article by suggesting they were above water. At best there are only a few sand bars above water at the best of times. They are always prone to being washed away in storms.
Looking only at natural gas, when I see futures going into the Oct - Dec time frame in ranges from $10.93 to $12.07 that's up - not down. A lot of bux for a Decatherm.
In the past few months it had been running 2-3 dollars lower. Check a longer term chart back into the summer and you'll see the much lower prices.
Get the connection??? It shouldn't take you very long!!!
Gentlemen, we would appreciate your comments as this comes from a Watermelon Enviral site which hates petro energy in all forms.
Free Republic is loaded with examples of the left wingers rewriting history and eliminating history to blame GW for what the rat governor of La and du mayor of NO's didn't do to prevent what happened.
But there's so much goofy stuff in this article, like blaming the oil and gas industry for subsidence, that it discredits the entire analysis.
We got hit harder than it first appeared. It took a couple days to discover that entire platforms had completely disappeared. The assessment is still continuing.
But the oil companies have the proper incentive to get this production back online as soon as possible. $60 oil will do that.
You call this a good article? Are you serious???
What ever good is in the article is totally wiped out with bogus attachments of out of context biblical quotes from the book of revelation strickly for effect!!!
Then the one and only mention of nuclear implies that it is as out-of-phase with need times as bogus "alternative" sources of energy and requires storage and that it can't be stored.
More bogus info in that Hydrogen is the battery in which nuclear can be stored, to say nothing of desalinization of sea water, etc., etc...
Only thing worse than high priced gasoline , is NO Gasoline!!1
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