Natural Resources: Roughneck Regatta

For more than a year, a sort of rough neck regatta has been churning the wa ters of the Gulf of Mexico off Loui siana. It is composed of workboats, tugs, barges and even helicopters, and is crewed by hard-hat engineers, welders and derrick workers. Along the Gulf, a group of companies have strung out 1,000 miles of pipeline in a race for some of the richest U.S. natural-gas deposits.

Their goal is a 1,165-square-mile area off the offshore continental shelf, where natural gas is being tapped under water as deep as 600 feet. A collection of 100 offshore drilling...

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