Rough seas forced pipeline and oil rig repair crews out of the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, delaying efforts to get the nation’s oil and natural gas infrastructure on track and stem the rise in oil prices.
Hurricane Ivan ripped rigs off their bases and cracked sections in the extensive pipeline system that feeds the country much of its fuel. Broken pipelines caused at least four oil spills off the Louisiana coast and others further out in the Gulf.
Slow progress in repairing Ivan’s damage and world turmoil helped push crude oil prices briefly to the $53 a barrel level for the first time in Thursday trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
"The weather in the next couple of days will have an impact on the repair work," said Fred Palmer, a Shell Oil Co. spokesman.