Nearly half a year after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck, the US economy is still feeling the effects. New Orleans may be holding its carnival, but the oil producers of the US Gulf coast are not dancing in the streets about production. That is still well below normal as work continues to repair and rebuild the oil rigs and refineries that were flooded, damaged or destroyed by the hurricanes.
Rayola Dougher of the American Petroleum Institute explained the Gulf region is producing almost a quarter less than it did in the same period last year. She said: “About 24% of the oil production is still out of operation right now, that’s about 384,000 barrels a day, so the equivalent of about 6.6% of total US production.”
The hurricane-induced economic slowdown is fading, but the latest US government figures show an annual rate of growth in the fourth quarter of last year of 1.6%. That is better than had been initially estimated, but is still the weakest pace in three years, due to reduced consumer spending and less homebuilding activity.