U.S. oil industry officials say it is still too early to estimate the full extent of damage to Gulf Coast drilling platforms and oil refineries from Hurricane Rita, but they say initial reports are encouraging.
Rita swept across the so-called "refinery row," shutting down nearly all oil production and some natural gas output in the region. However, officials expressed hope that there was only limited flooding of refineries, and that they can quickly resume production.
The Gulf Coast refinery shutdown, which began even before the hurricane arrived, has cut the nation's total oil production by about 30 percent. Officials say the closed refineries include six of the 10 largest in the country.