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Hurricane Andrew in '92 Toppled Platforms, Damaged 241 Offshore Installations

October 7, 2002
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Hurricane Andrew in '92 Toppled Platforms, Damaged 241 Offshore Installations

The weather forecasters say Lilli, a category 4 when it went through the Gulf of Mexico production area, could rival Andrew, a category 5 hurricane in 1992 that devastated a wide swath of Florida before cutting across the Gulf, toppling 34 oil and gas platforms, leaving 28 leaning, and causing over a billion dollars in damage, not counting the loss of production revenue (see NGI's storm chronicle -- located under special reports on intelligencepress.com).

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) in the first week after the August 26, 1992 storm reported 166 oil and gas production platforms, pipeline facilities and other offshore installations damaged by Hurricane Andrew, then revised it to 200 the following week and 241 the week after that. At that point, MMS ordered all oil and gas facilities within an 85-mile wide corridor along the path of Hurricane Andrew -- about 700 platforms -- be inspected below the water line by certified divers because of suspected damage.

In the early weeks after Andrew struck, production in the Gulf was down between 2.5 and 2.75 Bcf/d as a result of hurricane damage, according to the MMS. That was about 20% of GOM gas production and 5% of the nation's total output. A third of the Gulf's oil production, 260,000-280,000 bbl/d or 3.5% of U.S. total production, also was shut-in. In addition, 83 pipeline segments received some degree of damage, MMS said, with most of the damage on gas pipelines. Between 1 and 1.5 Bcf/d of production returned three weeks after the hurricane passed.

NGI estimated at the time that producers lost about $12 million a day from production losses in the early going and were still losing about $4 million a day three weeks later. Some repairs took six months and only floating pieces of some rigs were recovered.

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