Five days after Hurricane Rita made landfall, the extent of the damage to offshore oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico sharpened yesterday after Chevron indicated that one of its three large platforms had capsized after losing its moorings.
The deepwater platform, called Typhoon, was spotted Sunday drifting nearly 80 miles from its original position, a Chevron spokesman, Mickey Driver, said. The company had first said on Monday that Typhoon had been "severely damaged."
"We want to find out what happened, obviously," Mr. Driver said, "and what caused it to lose its moorings, whether it was the winds or the waves, we will try to determine that."
Offshore platforms, especially those that operate in deep water, are designed to withstand the most severe storms. Typhoon's accident came a few weeks after Royal Dutch Shell, the largest operator in the gulf, said that its Mars platform, which accounted for 15 percent of the gulf's oil production, had been damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
After initial relief that Hurricane Rita had largely spared the oil and gas industry, analysts are becoming increasingly concerned about how quickly oil and gas production can be restored.
Those worries pushed up energy prices in New York yesterday with natural gas futures closing at $13.90 a thousand cubic feet, up 9.8 percent, after touching $14.80 earlier in the day. Oil futures jumped 2 percent and closed at $66.35 a barrel.
The gulf's entire oil output of 1.5 million barrels a day, as well as 80 percent of the natural gas production, which is typically 10 billion cubic feet a day, remained shut out yesterday, according to the Department of the Interior.
The Department of Energy said in its weekly report that it expected about 15 percent of the nation's refining capacity to be out of service for "at least another couple of weeks."
Hurricane Rita disrupted production after it made landfall close to the Port Arthur-Lake Charles region, where about 10 percent of the nation's refining capacity is concentrated.
Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans a month ago, shut down four refineries that account for 5 percent of the country's capacity. Chevron expects that Hurricane Katrina will cost it more than $350 million in damages and lost production. The company has not yet estimated the cost of Hurricane Rita to its business.
The company said its two remaining platforms, Genesis and Petronius, did not appear to have been damaged. Typhoon, a $250 million tension leg platform, was operating in 2,100 feet of water about 165 miles southwest of New Orleans.