Log in
Show password
Forgot password ?
Become a member for free
Sign up
Sign up
New member
Sign up for FREE
New customer
Discover our services
Dynamic quotes 
News: Latest News
Latest NewsCompaniesMarketsEconomy & ForexCommoditiesInterest RatesBusiness LeadersFinance Pro.CalendarSectors 
All NewsEconomyCurrencies & ForexEconomic EventsCryptocurrenciesCybersecurityPress Releases

U.S. vows to keep gasoline flowing as oil rigs slow to restart after Ida

09/02/2021 | 05:05pm EST
FILE PHOTO: A parking sign lies in the street as Hurricane Ida makes landfall in Louisiana, in New Orleans

HOUSTON (Reuters) -U.S. oil and gas companies strained on Thursday to get offshore operations up and running after Hurricane Ida, and the White House authorized a release of emergency fuel stocks as the extent of the storm's damages became more apparent.

Ida's 150-mile-per-hour (240 kph) winds delivered a direct hit to U.S. energy infrastructure. Most of the Gulf of Mexico's oil and gas output remained offline as energy firms struggled to complete aerial surveys and return workers offshore. Their efforts were hindered by damage to onshore terminals and base sites.

Only a quarter of the 288 platforms evacuated last week had crews to restart production, according to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Top offshore producer Royal Dutch Shell said 80% of its offshore output remained shut, and damages to one platform were discovered during an aerial survey.


Exxon Mobil's Baton Rouge refinery will get 1.5 million barrels of crude from U.S. emergency stocks to produce gasoline, the Department of Energy said after President Joe Biden directed the department to use all tools, including the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to keep gasoline flowing.

U.S. Gulf offshore crude production provides about 16% of the country's daily output. Efforts to begin pumping were slowed with offshore workers dealing with damages to their homes and helicopter companies struggling to get fuel.

As of Thursday, 1.7 million barrels of daily production were offline, 94% of the offshore region's output, along with 91%, or 2 billion cubic feet, of natural gas. Output losses increased from day earlier.

Port Fourchon, Louisiana, a vital center of offshore logistics where Ida made landfall, was left without power and water and its roads strewn with debris. There were no major obstruction to its main waterways, a port official said.


"The area is completely devastated," said Tony Odak, chief operating officer of Stone Oil Distributor, a top supplier of fuel to the offshore industry that was relocating some activities to western Louisiana.

Ida's ferocious winds injured a drill ship's crew members and damaged the vessel. The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the incident on Noble Corp's Globetrotter II, an official said. A cutter and aircraft were sent to escort the damaged vessel to port.

Most Louisiana ports, including the Port of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, were reopened to vessel traffic on Thursday, the Coast Guard said. A downed transmission line in the Mississippi River was limiting access to four refineries west of New Orleans, including Exxon's Baton Rouge refinery.


Seven oil refiners that produce gasoline and motor fuels could be out of operation for up to four weeks due to a lack of power and water.

The storm knocked out plants in southeast Louisiana operated by Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66, Valero Energy and PBF Energy.

"Like everyone else, we are waiting on the results of the utility's damage assessment and their plans for re-energizing the grid," said Michael Karlovich, a spokesman for PBF Energy, which shut its 190,000-barrel-per-day Chalmette, Louisiana, refinery on Sunday.

When crude supplies are restored, refinery operators who idled operations ahead of the storm face the dangerous task of firing up massive boilers and pressure vessels used to produce fuel. Most refinery accidents occur during shutdowns or restarts.

Crude prices rose more than $1 on Thursday, supported by optimism about the economy and a weaker dollar.

(Additional reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar, Erwin Seba and Marianna Parraga; writing by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Leslie Adler, Bill Berkrot and David Gregorio)

By Liz Hampton and Sabrina Valle

© Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BHP GROUP -1.53% 38.03 End-of-day quote.-10.37%
PHILLIPS 66 -6.25% 69.25 Delayed Quote.-0.99%
VALERO ENERGY CORPORATION -6.77% 68.01 Delayed Quote.28.96%
Latest news "Economy & Forex"
04:50pAER AUSTRALIAN ENERGY REGULATOR : Annual electricity benchmarking reports released alongside a new consultation paper on capitalisation
04:03pECB's Lagarde says euro zone in better shape facing new COVID wave, Omicron variant
03:30pCold snap lifts Nordic power price for Monday to record high
03:20pMEDIA STATEMENT : Westville Residents Call for Gas Amendment Bill to be Inclusive
03:00pEcb's lagarde says euro zone now better equipped for potential new wave of covid-19 infections or omicron variant
02:51pBERNARD ARNAULT : Louis Vuitton star designer Virgil Abloh dies after private battle with cancer
02:30pOPEC postponses technical meetings to evaluate Omicron impact -sources
02:25pOPEC postpones technical meetings to evaluate Omicron impact -Bloomberg News
02:15pStar designer Virgil Abloh dies of cancer after private battle - LVMH
02:01pGermany says working with U.S. on Nord Stream 2 deal
Latest news "Economy & Forex"