This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 05, 2006

DOE: Gulf Energy Companies Must Cooperate After Hurricanes Hit

U.S. oil and natural gas companies need to take a lesson from the electric power industry and work together to repair infrastructure after natural disasters, according to Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. Speaking on March 29th at the annual meeting of the National Ocean Industries Association—a national trade association representing the domestic offshore petroleum industry and related industries—Secretary Bodman noted that the electric power industry has long relied on mutual aid agreements to restore essential facilities and services in the aftermath of storms, a process that served the power industry well after last summer's hurricanes.

Secretary Bodman also praised the oil and gas industry for its recovery from the hurricanes, which shut down 90 percent of the oil production and 80 percent of the natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico. As of March 22nd, only 23 percent of the oil production and 14 percent of the natural gas production remains unavailable, and Secretary Bodman noted that it may not be economically feasible to restore some of the damaged wells. Secretary Bodman also noted that the ConocoPhillips and Murphy Oil refineries in Louisiana and the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas, are all in the process of restarting operations, which "should help bring us back to full refining capacity in the Gulf for the first time since Katrina landed last August." See Secretary Bodman's speech on the DOE Web site, and for the latest figures on Gulf oil and gas production, see the report from the Minerals Management Service of the U.S. Department of Interior.