As the extent of the damage to offshore oil facilities in the Gulf of Mexico slowly slowly started to emerge after Hurricane Katrina's passage, oil prices rose above $70 a barrel, according to a report in the New York Times.
The hurricane, one of the most severe storms ever to hit the United States, crippled the nation's foremost oil-producing region at the worst possible time for American and global energy markets. It will probably take days or even weeks before the full extent of the damage is fully revealed. Repairs are likely to drag on for months.
Most of the oil and gas production from the Gulf of Mexico remained shut off Tuesday. The region accounts for nearly a third of domestic oil production and a fifth of its natural gas output.
The Coast Guard said that its crews flying over the gulf had spotted several sunken platforms and rigs. The destruction was often accompanied by oil spills.
Offshore platforms were damaged by Katrina's winds and waves, and some had snapped out of their moorings and were drifting away; 10 refineries, accounting for 10 percent of the nation's capacity, were shut down and remained without power Tuesday; strategic pipelines linking the gulf to key markets in the rest of the country were still closed because they too lacked power.