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Kat now a Cat 5

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This one is going to go down in the history books. I seriously hope New Orleans is not wiped off the map... This storm may effect the entire country economically, and the loss of life could be horrific.
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wrxpilot said:
This one is going to go down in the history books. I seriously hope New Orleans is not wiped off the map... This storm may effect the entire country econimically, and the loss of life could be horrific.

Expect oil to go nuts tomorrow. Im thinking it may hit 75-80.
The cost to property and human life will be catestrophic. No question.

Once the dust settles and the water begins to recede, we'll have to deal with the economic fallout.

Fill up your gas tanks tonight, because oil's going to spike tomorrow. (as mentioned on another thread it will actually take 10 days before an increase in the price of crude reaches the pumps, but suppliers will do a little profit-taking before then)

Storm aims for heart of U.S. oil industry
Gas prices may jump sharply
Sunday, August 28, 2005 By BEN RAINES
Staff Reporter
Oil traders closed business on Friday confident that Hurricane Katrina would hit too far to the east to affect the price of oil and natural gas.

That was before the National Hurricane Center shifted the storm's possible path to a more westerly track that slices through the nation's main oil artery and could result in record prices for a barrel of crude within a matter of days.

If Hurricane Katrina holds true to predictions and tracks north through the toe of Louisiana's boot, much of the nation's oil and natural gas infrastructure will be exposed to 140 mile per hour winds, 30- to 50-foot waves, and water current speeds of around 20 knots all the way from the surface to the sea floor.

"This storm is going to pass through the meat of the oil and gas fields. The whole country will feel it, because it's going to cripple us and the country's whole economy," said Capt. Buddy Cantrelle with Kevin Gros Offshore, which supplies rigs via a fleet of large crew vessels.

Nation's oil center

The equipment located in the storm's likely path includes the bulk of the nation's oil and gas production platforms, thousands of miles of pipelines and -- perhaps most importantly for national gasoline prices -- much of the country's refinery capacity. In addition, the south Louisiana coastline serves as the entry point for around a third of the nation's imported oil.

Last year's Hurricane Ivan, which came ashore along the Alabama-Florida line moving through an area mostly devoid of rigs, caused widespread destruction both above and below water in the fields off Alabama and eastern Louisiana. Floating rigs were found drifting hundreds of miles from the wells they had been plumbing, while some rigs with legs fixed to the bottom toppled into the sea. Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of pipelines were tangled and torn to pieces by sea currents and massive underwater mudslides.

The full extent of the damage wasn't known for days and the Gulf lost nearly 30 percent of production capacity for well over a month, which drove prices for oil up $12 a barrel within a few weeks. Prices for both oil and natural gas surged upward and stayed high for months.

Major threat

But that storm was just a baby tap on the Gulf's infrastructure compared with the blow some in the oil industry are predicting from Katrina.

"No matter where it hits at this point, it's going to hit a lot of rigs, and the whole country is going to notice," Cantrelle said. "And if this thing comes up through Port Fourchon like they're calling for right now, well, that's where 30 percent of the country's oil comes ashore. They are forecasting 40-foot seas for Fourchon."

Port Fourchon, located at the tail end of a barely there two-lane highway just a foot or two above sea level, sits exposed to the sea almost like an island lighthouse thanks to the loss of thousands of acres of marsh that once surrounded it. The port complex -- like that skinny strip of a highway now so low and close to the water that fishermen use parts of the shoulder as a miles-long boat ramp -- has been rendered ever more vulnerable by the massive erosion of Louisiana's coastal marshes.

"A storm of this magnitude, we're expecting some serious damage here," C.J. Cheramie with the Fourchon Port Police said Saturday afternoon. "They started evacuating the rigs once the storm got into the Gulf. We haven't seen any helicopter traffic in awhile, suggesting that everyone has made it in. We are evacuating inland. We'll try to reopen the port as quickly as we can. ... there's just no way to predict what will happen with a storm this size."

Cheramie said he hadn't heard about a helicopter crash reported earlier in the day. Cantrelle, with the crew boat company, told the Register that one of his boats picked up all three passangers unharmed after their copter was forced to ditch into the ocean on its way back to shore.

Thousands of the 5,000 rig platforms in the Gulf are located in the predicted path of the storm, and many of them are aging. In previous storms, it has been the older rigs that most often end up wrecked.

"Lot of these jack-up rigs, we've been towing them around for 25 or 30 years. These things are getting to be pretty old," said Bobby Autin, with Louisiana International Marine, a rig towing company. "The storm shifted so fast nobody really had a chance to do much but get the people off the rigs. We didn't move any. I sent all of my boats to Texas."

Lots of work ahead

Autin said that as soon as Katrina makes landfall he will scramble his boats back toward Fourchon because he expects there will be a lot of work.

"There are always going to be rigs in trouble after a storm like this. We may have to tow some, or some we will even hold in place if they've tipped over until they can get to them to work on," Autin said. "We were all stunned earlier this year by Cindy when it came through. It was just a tropical storm and it did a lot of damage offshore. They're saying this storm is on the same track. Imagine what it's going to be like if a category 5 comes rolling through these rigs."
It is kind of a Catch 22 for me...

I do not want my area affected (Perdido Key, on the FL/AL line). But if I get missed by the affects, that means New Orleans will be hit, and that would mean even more devistation.

On an aviation note, my Navy SAR helo unit out of Pensacola will hopefully be flying two birds to help out N.O. if they take the brunt. If we get hit, I may be out of a flying job for the next 3 months.
Went to bed last night it was a weak Cat 3 @ 115mph, woke up today and a Cat 5 with 175mph winds! Thats equilivant to an F3 tornado.

How long has it been since a storm was in the northern Gulf of Mexico? Only two others this year, Dennis and Emily, both of which were back in July if I remember correctly. That part of the Gulf of Mexico water has been untapped for almost a month. They said temps were 90+ degrees in some places. Id hate to say it but I wouldnt be surprised to see it strengthen even more.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst...
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Katrina cuts oil output by a third
August 28, 2005: 11:22 AM EDT

HOUSTON (Reuters) - U.S. energy companies said U.S. Gulf of Mexico crude oil output was cut by more than one-third on Saturday as Hurricane Katrina appeared poised to charge through central production areas toward New Orleans.

The Gulf of Mexico is home to roughly a quarter of U.S. domestic oil and gas output, with a capacity to produce about 1.5 million barrels per day of crude and 12.3 billion cubic feet per day of gas.

As of Saturday, 563,000 barrels daily crude output had been shut in due to the threatening storm.

Shell Oil Co., which was evacuating all 1,019 of its offshore workers in the central and eastern Gulf on Saturday, had the bulk of closed Gulf daily oil production, with 420,000 barrels turned off.

Shell also said 1.345 billion cubic feet per day, or Bfd, of natural gas had been shut by Saturday.

Total daily Gulf natural gas output shut on Saturday was 1.9 billion cubic feet.

Chalmette Refining LLC, which operates a New Orleans-area refinery, was shutting down production in preparation for the approach of the hurricane, which is predicted to produce winds near 131 mph (210 kph) when it charges ashore on Monday.

Chalmette is a joint venture between Exxon Mobil Corp. and Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA and operates a 190,000-bpd refinery 9 miles east of downtown New Orleans.

The shutdown was to be completed by Katrina's predicted landfall on Monday afternoon, said Chalmette spokeswoman Nora Scheller.

Other southeast Louisiana refineries were operating on Saturday but were reducing staff and preparing for possible shutdowns, the companies said.

Ship traffic along the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico to New Orleans was halted on Saturday when ship pilots said conditions were already unsafe to continue moving vessels along the waterway.

The U.S. Coast Guard was warning mariners of possible waterway closures along the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coasts as early as Sunday afternoon.

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port LLC stopped offloading tankers in the Gulf of Mexico at midday on Saturday. The LOOP, which is the only U.S. offshore oil port, takes an average 1 million barrels in foreign crude from tankers in the Gulf.

While offloading is halted, the LOOP is supplying refiners via pipeline with crude stored on shore.

Katrina, which was a major Category 5 hurricane by Sunday morning, according to the Saffir-Simpson scale of intensity, meaning it would likely produce catastrophic damage with winds of at least 155 mph (249 kph).

Katrina was originally projected to take a path west across southern Florida, turn north in the eastern Gulf and strike the Florida Panhandle as a minimal hurricane.

As late as Friday afternoon, many producers were taking a wait-and-see approach common with eastern Gulf storms, where oil and gas drilling and production are sparse.

But the storm's long drift westward Friday afternoon and evening meant it was gaining intensity from deep, warm Gulf waters and would not turn north in time to avoid production areas.

Katrina is expected to reach land "sometime between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m." Monday, according to CNN meteorologist Brad Huffines.

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