BY ALAN R. ELLIOTT
INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
When Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ripped through the Gulf of Mexico in 2005, they tore into the Gulf fleet and crippled or destroyed 113 production platforms and 18 drilling rigs. Wave-tossed rigs dragged moorings across the seafloor and ripped up hundreds of miles of pipelines. But the actual subsea wells tied to the wrecked platforms suffered no significant leaks. The biggest spills were from onshore storage and a barge accident after the storms.
"Not only did we not have any significant environmental spills associated with wells from those two hurricanes," said Tim Sampson, manager of exploration and production with the American Petroleum Institute. "But we also had no accidents or injuries associated with the evacuation of all the offshore personnel."
Despite fears that new offshore drilling risks an environmental disaster, the U.S. industry has had a strong record for decades.