DATE:  November 1, 2005
CONTACT: Dr. Wes Tunnell, Associate Director and Harte Research Center Scientist, (361) 825-2768; or Steve Paschal, Public Affairs, (361) 825-2336

Harte Research Institute Distinguished Lecturer to Examine the Long-term Effects of Hurricane Katrina on Gulf of Mexico

Paul Kelly, a member of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, will be the next guest speaker in the Harte Research Institute’s Distinguished Lecturer Series on Monday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in the University Center, Lone Star Ballroom at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Kelly, who was recently appointed by President Bush to serve on the Commission, will address the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf of Mexico. Katrina, a category 4 hurricane when it came ashore on the Central Gulf Coast near New Orleans on Aug. 29, killed more than 1,300 people and displaced another million Gulf Coast residents. The estimated $130 billion in damage wrought by Katrina makes it the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history.

In his position as Senior Vice President of Rowan Companies, Inc., Kelly is responsible for special projects and government and industry affairs. Rowan is a major provider of international and domestic offshore contract drilling and through its subsidiary LeTourneau Services, Inc., manufactures mobile offshore jack-up drilling rigs and oilfield equipment.

“Paul Kelly brings to the audience a wealth of experience and perspective related to the Gulf of Mexico and operations that exist in it,” said Dr. Robert Furgason, executive director of the Harte Research Institute. We focus much of our attention on the devastation that occurs on-shore. However, the destructive forces of weather certainly take an enormous toll in the activities that occur off our shores. Paul’s expertise was called upon by President Bush when he appointed him to the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy which recently released a comprehensive report on directions that the U.S. should take on protecting and enhancing our perimeter oceans.”

Kelly, who holds B.A. and J.D. degrees from Yale University, has represented the oil service/supply industry on the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Outer Continental Shelf Policy Committee during the past four administrations, serving as chairman from 1994 to 1996. He is also a director of the International Association of Drilling Contractors and the National Ocean Industries Association.

From 1985 to 1987 Kelly was the managing director of British American Offshore Ltd., Rowan’s main contracting entity in the North Sea. He is also a member of the editorial board of World Oil and has written extensively on the subject of energy policy. He has appeared at numerous Congressional and federal agency hearings dealing with offshore and gas issues. Kelly is a member of the advisory board of the Center for Oceans Law and Policy at the University of Virginia Law School and a member of the Oceanography Development Council at Texas A&M University.

The Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies is a newly endowed and developing research institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Its mission is to support and advance the long-term sustainable use and conservation of the Gulf of Mexico. Twice each year, fall and spring, the HRI sponsors a distinguished scientist or business leader to give a public lecture at A&M-Corpus Christi on a topic relevant to the HRI mission of assuring the long-term sustainable use and conservation of the Gulf of Mexico.