Drilling advances ///

Hurricane Lili in the U.S. Gulf. Packing 140-150-mph winds while it was offshore, the second hurricane of the season moved north from Cuba to landfall west of Lafayette, Louisiana, on October 3. Once onshore, the storm lost a lot of its punch, still causing extensive damage with winds up to 100 mph. Offshore oil/gas facility operators and drilling contractors conducted a massive evacuation, leaving some 750 platforms and most active rigs vacant. Three mobile offshore rigs were casualties. Rowan’s jackup Rowan-Houston was ripped off its legs and sunk in 105-ft water. Reports indicate it had been struck by another vessel. Diamond Offshore’s Ocean Lexington semi was torn off its moorings, dragged some 45 mi and grounded in 30-ft water – full damage has not yet been estimated. And Nabor’s Dolphin 105, 110-ft jackup, capsized 30 mi offshore in Ship Shoal Block 126. It was found lying on its side in 40-ft water. Early reports said, as of October 7, 116 production platforms were still vacant and four rigs were unmanned, compared to 96 the day after Lili.

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