OT: Floridians can begin to exhale

Folks in the know understand how important gasoline and natural gas is to Florida, particularly since just about 55% of the electricity generated in the state now comes from natural gas. During the storms of 2004-2005 and then again after Katrina, the natural gas supplies were down to about two days or less before the pipelines went back online.

Folks in the know realize that a two day supply in those circumstances is sweating time since many Floridians were “offline” as it were, because their power lines were down.

What most folks, even folks in the know, don’t realize is that a single port services 90% of all the oil and gas platforms in the Gulf. More alarming is that one two-lane road leads to that port and even more alarming than that is the bridges on that road are decaying and in fact were heavily damaged in the last few years.

The port: Port Fourchan, LA
The road: SR-LA 1

Oil Platforms are like ships that don’t move. Like ships, they need food, water and spare parts to keep operating. They get those things from boats and helicopters that operate from Port Fourchan. Port Fourchan gets the supplies to transfer to the platforms by truck. People have been warning about this thin line of supply for at least 30 years. But there was never enough money to fix it. Finally there was.

When Katrina hit, a barge cut loose and smashed a bridge, thus cutting off supplies available by truck which resulted in platform shutdowns.

This finally woke up Washington and vast sums of money have been flowing to improve the road and replace the worn out bridges. The first of the bridges opened yesterday. It replaced a deteriorating draw bridge that liked to get stuck. There are many more bridges to go.

Until all the bridges are replaced and the level of the road is elevated so that minor storm surges don’t stop the trucks, we should still hold our breath, but it is good news that the infrastructure is finally being improved.

This will benefit not only Florida, but the entire Southeast United States.