Gulf of Mexico

GOM - Hurricanes Raise Risk Of Oil Spills In Gulf Of Mexico

As the latest strong storm that passed through the U.S. Gulf of Mexico showed, hurricanes are testing the resilience of offshore oil and gas facilities and pipelines.

Hurricane Ida made headlines as it left 1 million customers in the state of Louisiana without power and shut-in as much as 95 percent of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico's oil production just before making landfall in Louisiana on August 29.

Unfortunately, the continued disruption to oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico was not the only headline-grabbing consequence of Hurricane Ida. Oil spills also raised eyebrows after offshore oil and gas infrastructure was damaged by the storm.  

The oil spills shed light on some of the aging offshore infrastructure that were unable to withstand the forces of nature. It also proved that whichever hurricanes come next could also damage pipelines and platforms.  

The damage to facilities and resulting oil spills also underscore what the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report made public in April: The U.S. Department of the Interior lacks a robust oversight process to monitor and ensure the safety and integrity of some 8,600 miles of active offshore oil and gas pipelines located on the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico.

The impact of Hurricane Ida on the Gulf of Mexico offshore infrastructure and production is also an argument that environmental organizations could use to call for restrictions on offshore drilling.

Damages And Oil Spills

The hurricane caused damage to platforms while refineries were waiting for power to begin the restart process.


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