Gulf of Mexico Oil Leases at Risk for Major Hurricanes until 2010


Hurricane Rita
(Click to Enlarge)
Jill F. Hasling, Certified Consulting Meteorologist with Houston's Weather Research Center reviewed the decadal charts of Category 3 through 5 hurricanes since 1851 and found an interesting cycle. This cycle implies that the Gulf of Mexico oil leases have a higher risk of experiencing Category 3, 4 and 5 hurricanes over the next 5 years. This research used the graphs prepared by Eric S. Blake, Jerry D. Jarrell (retired), Edward N. Rappaport and Christopher W. Landsea [2005] of Category 3 through 5 US hurricanes by decade. These graphs were then arranged in 30 year periods starting with 1851, 1881, 1911, 1941 and 1971 giving three cycles. Then the number of Category 3 through 5 hurricanes that passed over the Gulf of Mexico oil leases were tallied for each decade and each cycle. As you can see from the graphs and chart below, it appears that there are more major hurricanes over the Gulf oil leases in Cycle 1 and Cycle 3 than in the decades in Cycle 2. In other words, there is a decade with a larger number of major hurricanes over the Gulf oil leases followed by a decade of very few. During Cycle 2, the major hurricanes seem to go up the east coast of the US.

The decade that started in 2001 is during Cycle 1 which is the period when increased major hurricane activity is expected until 2010.

Number of Major Gulf of Mexico Oil Lease Hurricanes by Decade

CYCLE 1 CYCLE 2 CYCLE 3
1851 - 1860 - 5 1861 - 1870 - 0
1871 - 1880 - 4
1881 - 1890 - 4 1891 - 1900 - 3 1901 - 1910 - 3
1911 - 1920 - 7 1921 - 1930 - 2 1931 - 1940 - 3
1941 - 1950 - 3 1951 - 1960 - 1 1961 - 1970 - 6
1971 - 1980 - 4 1981 - 1990 - 2 1991 - 2000 - 3

Average number major hurricanes expected over the Gulf of Mexico Oil Leases by decade:

2001- 2005- 4 so far
2001-2010 - 4.6
2011-2020 - 1.1
2021- 2030 - 3.1

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