Hurricane Katrina may have been devastating onshore, but Hurricane Rita apparently caused more damage offshore to oil and natural gas rigs, according to two offshore data services. Katrina stormed through a mature exploratory region in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, while Rita stormed through the western Gulf, which is home to a lot of new exploration and production activity.

In a new assessment, RigLogix said damage to the Gulf drilling fleet and to production facilities “is quite extensive.” It reported five mobile offshore rigs incurred major damage, 10 rigs incurred minor damage and eight rigs were set adrift by Rita.

ODS-Petrodata also published a report, stating Rita’s damage will lead to a rig shortage off the Gulf Coast in 2006, which could delay exploratory drilling as far away as the Middle East. ODS noted that rigs were already in short supply before Katrina and Rita struck. It said a rig ordered now to replace a damaged or destroyed one would not be available until 2008, at a cost of $90-550 million.

According to RigLogix data, Rita caused major damage to two GlobalSantaFe, two Noble Drilling and one Rowan rig:

RigLogix noted minor damage was sustained by two Diamond Offshore rigs, three Ensco rigs, one Hercules Offshore rig, three Nabors Offshore rigs, three more Noble rigs, three more Rowan rigs and two Transocean Inc. rigs.

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