Billion Dollar Blowout: Billion Dollar Blowout

From oil and gas to coffee and cars, the Gulf Coast plays a vital role in supplying the U.S. economy. Katrina's price tag may reach $100 billion, and here's how that affects you

Several days before Katrina struck, John Walker shut down production and evacuated crews from the oil and gas fields that his company operates in the Mississippi Delta. The CEO of EnerVest, a Houston energy-asset-management firm, was luckier than most. Katrina spared four of his fields, though the damage to a fifth was ugly. The storm blew a barge five miles down the bayou from its moorings in marshy Garden Island Bay. Nearly every piece of oil equipment was destroyed, and Walker estimates it will take several months to get that field running at full capacity. "When there's this much damage, there are...

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