While we wait for Gustav to make landfall, and hope that Holly’s family remains safe and sound, we also need to consider the impact of the hurricane on the oil and energy industry. This graphic from NOAA reminds us of the sheer number of energy-drilling platforms, most now evacuated, situated in the northern Gulf of Mexico — almost 4,000 active platforms. What we don’t see here is the shore-based infrastructure. Pipelines, terminals, and refineries along the coast are going to be hit as well.
We don’t know how bad it’s going to be yet, but there’s likely to be a hit at the gas pump for drivers and airlines alike nationwide in the coming days.
Another note as the hurricane approaches, Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans discontinued flight operations at 6:00 PM Central time. Following some of the discussion over at Airliners.net, many airlines ran extra flights and used larger planes to assist in evacuations. AirTran, American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, Sun Country, US Airways, and other airlines all contributed to the flight exodus efforts.