Saturday, September 06, 2008

'Now do you care about Louisiana?'

Large swaths of south Louisiana remain dark and in shambles five days in Gustav's wake.

Because the blackest of the blackouts and the shambliest of the shambles lie not within the woebegotten borders of Orleans Parish, the plight of Louisiana is no big whoop to the national media.

IF THE NATION'S ARBITERS of newsworthiness happened by accident to take a look at Friday's Times-Picayune -- after all, it is a New Orleans newspaper -- they might want to rethink their lack of attention to what was hit by the "bullet" the Crescent City dodged:
Three days after Hurricane Gustav made landfall, more than 95 percent of Gulf of Mexico oil production is still shuttered and a key hub for the offshore petroleum industry remains without power.

Gustav slammed into Port Fourchon, a hub used by more than 60 companies to service Gulf rigs and platforms, before coming ashore in Cocodrie on Monday. Port Fourchon also houses the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, a facility that receives about 12 percent of the nation's oil imports.

Director Ted Falgout said Thursday that Port Fourchon may not be able to receive power for four to six weeks. He also said storm sediment and stones displaced from a jetty may leave one of the port's channels impassable for as long as a week.

Meanwhile, the energy sector is beginning to reoccupy its facilities in the Gulf of Mexico, although the bulk of oil and gas production remains shut down. More than 87 percent of the Gulf's natural gas production remained shut down on Thursday, down from 92 percent on Wednesday. More than 95 percent of Gulf oil production remained shut down on Thursday, the same amount as Wednesday.

As of Thursday, 73 percent of the platforms in the Gulf and 52 percent of the rigs in the Gulf remained evacuated. Platforms are the offshore structures from which oil and natural gas are produced. Rigs are offshore drilling facilities.
DOESN'T THIS MEAN that the United States has just lost a pretty big slice of its oil supply for the foreseeable future? And isn't that a big deal?

As a T-shirt popular down on the bayou says,
"Now do you care about Louisiana?"

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