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Danger, Disregard, and Destruction

October 4, 2005

Trey Diaz - Team

It’s not just fragile marshlands being eroded from tidal surge and winds, levees breaching and breaking, massive trees falling on buildings, roofs coming off of houses and buildings like banana peels. Our fisheries are also being destroyed by blatant disregard for the power of nature. 

Estimates by the Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries indicate that $1.1 Billion worth of retail fisheries have been destroyed by the oil and gas industry following the recent hurricanes. The U.S. Coast Guard is reporting that 193,000 barrels or about 8 million gallons of oil and petrochemicals have leaked in to the Gulf of Mexico due to the destroyed rigs, ruptured pipelines, and leaking storage facilities following Rita alone. This quantity is similar to the amount of oil spilled during the infamous Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska and does not include any damage from hurricane Katrina.  

Many people’s lives in south Louisiana have recently been turned upside down and everyday activities have been disrupted by the destruction caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. However the gas companies efforts to move forward with their plans to further needlessly destroy our precious marine resources without regard for the dangerous consequences of using open loop LNG systems have not been disrupted. I say needlessly because it was recently released that Northeast Gateway Energy Bridge has applied to operate a (closed loop) LNG Terminal offshore of Massachusetts Bay. The same ships that deliver LNG to the (open loop) Excellerate Energy terminal in the Gulf of Mexico will deliver gas to the Massachusetts facility. Is this favoritism of some sort? Is there a logical, reasonable explanation why two facilities serving the same purpose and performing the same function must operate in such a diverse way? Especially when the open loop facility has the potential for a severe negative impact to the environment? To learn more about the different processes of importing and converting Natural Gas in to the U.S. go to . $1.1 billion worth or our fisheries have already been destroyed without the open loop terminals. How many more billions will be destroyed utilizing open loop terminals in the Gulf? The marine life killed by Open Loop are not accidental as with hurricane oil spills etc., these killings are intentional and completely avoidable.  

Besides utilizing billions of gallons of Gulf water to re-vaporize natural gas while unnecessarily sacrificing vitally important marine life, there may be another potential problem associated with these LNG terminals.  

Apparently many structures in the Gulf of Mexico cannot withstand the wind or wave force generated by a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. LNG terminals are no different. As a matter of fact the Federal Government only requires offshore structures to be able to withstand borderline Category 2/Category 3 hurricanes. Just after hurricane Rita passed through, the GOM posted this report as to some of the damage sustained to offshore oil facilities from hurricane Rita.


GSF HIGH ISLAND 3 - Beached in West Cameron

GSF ADRIATIC 7 - Beached in Eugene Island
GSF ADRIATIC 4 - Sunk on location
ROWAN LOUISIANA - Beached in West Cameron
ROWAN FORT WORTH - Beached in West Cameron
NOBLE JOE ALFORD - Beached in West Cameron
ROWAN HALIFAX - Beached in East Cameron
ROWAN ODESSA - Missing  


NOBLE AMOS RUNNER - Aground in Vermilion
NOBLE MAX SMITH - Aground in Eugene Island
NOBLE PAUL ROMANO - Aground in Vermilion
NOBLE LORRIS BOUZIGARD - Adrift 240 miles out
NOBLE THERALD MARTIN – Adrift 250 miles out
FALCON 100 - Aground
OCEAN STAR - Aground
TRANSOCEAN MARIANAS - Aground in Eugene Island

Spars/Tension Leg Platforms
CHEVRONTEXACO / BHP BILLITON - TYPHOON - Upside down in Eugene Island (See Picture)

Due to amount of damage that has been caused to the marshlands and fisheries by oil interests as a result of the hurricanes, one would think that potentially explosive facilities such as LNG terminals would have to exceed the standards of your typical oil platform. Well apparently this isn’t the case. For example, ConcoPhillips says its plans for an (open loop) offshore Liquefied Natural Gas terminal 12 miles south of Dauphin Island has been designed to withstand 120 mph sustained winds during a midrange Cat. 3 storm and can absorb waves of about 58 feet. The fact is that 4 Gulf Coast hurricanes over the past year -- Ivan, Dennis, Katrina and Rita -- all had winds of at least 145 mph as they neared the rig fields. During hurricane Ivan a wave-measuring buoy about 60 miles south of Dauphin Island, before it snapped, registered an average wave height of about 50 feet. That means the biggest waves were a staggering 100 feet tall. 

What is going to happen when 55 of these LNG terminals whose structures are no where near strong enough to withstand anything over a Cat. 3 and loaded with explosive Natural Gas run aground, go adrift, or beach during a storm? What are the impacts of Liquid natural gas being dispersed throughout the waters of Gulf of Mexico? What happens to the liquid and gaseous materials when the structure is damaged during a storm? Will the losses from damaged LNG facilities equal the $1.1 billion in fisheries lost from the oil spills? Are the billions of marine organisms killed using the open loop system included in this cost or is that just written off as a necessity? These intentional killings of marine life are necessary right? Oh wait…let me go ask Massachusetts. 

Can the seafood industries or anyone who makes a living along the Gulf of Mexico for that matter, including Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama survive the blatant disregard for our precious resources? Between the dangers of facilities that are not built to withstand common storms, the blatant disregard for the marine environment by using Open Loop LNG facilities, and “accidental” oil spills caused by inferior structures that are built to Federal code…I’m not sure if the Gulf Coast stands a chance.

Some information provided by:; (The Mobile Register);

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