Wednesday, January 11, 2012
By Paul Martin

By Steve Elwart

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security study has found that the temporary disruption of Louisiana Highway LA-1 in southern Lafourche Parish, near the energy hub of Port Fourchon, potentially could cripple the nation’s energy supply and cause major damage to the economy.

The DHS report titled “Louisiana Highway 1/Port Fourchon Study,” concludes that a 90-day closure of Port Fourchon due to the closing of LA-1 could result in a reduction of up to $7.8 billion in the American gross domestic product, significantly impacting domestic oil and gas production for at least a decade.

Located in southern Lafourche Parish, Port Fourchon is Louisiana’s southernmost port on the Gulf of Mexico. It is centrally located in a large area of the gulf that is rich in oil and natural gas drilling fields. The port has become a hub for the United States’ critical energy infrastructure. It is a primary supply base for oil rigs and production platforms in the central Gulf of Mexico with approximately 270 large supply ships moving through the port each day.

Crew and supply boats work out of the port because of its physical proximity to the facilities. Its location also makes it a prime site for the oil service industry in the gulf. The port currently services half of the drilling rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico, accounting for 75 percent of the gulf’s deepwater oil production. Oil production supplies and materials sent to rigs and platforms from Port Fourchon are brought into the port by more than 600 18-wheel trucks that travel on Louisiana Highway 1 each day.

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