Oil Spills

Oil Spills
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Hurricane Ivan punched holes in the network of oil and natural gas pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico.

That left oil and gas leaking from numerous points along the thousands of miles of pipelines.

Nearly two weeks after Ivan hit, the U.S. Minerals Management Service and the U.S. Coast Guard are unsure how many oil spills were caused by cracked pipelines.

In one spill at a Shell Oil pipeline near the mouth of the Mississippi River, crews have gathered about 101,000 gallons of water polluted with oil.

Ivan also damaged and knocked over several oil rigs that dot parts of the Gulf south of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

There were no reports of oil leaks from them because wells are secured when a hurricane approaches. But Ivan left oil production in the Gulf more than three million barrels per week below average. That's putting U.S. crude inventories at historically tight levels and contributing to the record price of oil.

A spokeswoman for the Minerals Management Service says that there were no reports of major pollution in federal waters, which extend 200 miles out from the mainland.