Friday, 22 September, 2017

Largest Oil Refinery in US Shutdown by Harvey

A truck in flood waters passes a home damaged in the wake of Hurricane Harvey Saturday Aug. 26 20 A truck in flood waters passes a home damaged in the wake of Hurricane Harvey Saturday Aug. 26 20
Juana Turner | 02 September, 2017, 00:50

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 18 percent, or 319,523 bpd, of current oil production in the Gulf of Mexico was shut versus about 19 percent a day earlier, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.

Motiva Enterprises' Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, the nation's largest, may be shut as long as two weeks for assessment of the plant and fix of any damage, sources familiar with plant operations said on Thursday.

Best Buy says it is "deeply sorry" following accusations of price gouging after a photo posted online showed cases of water for sale at one of the electronic retailer's Houston-area stores for more than $42. Those plants are located less than 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the tropical storm's 4 a.m. Wednesday landfall just west of Cameron, Louisiana.

"These closures are already impacting markets with crude prices lower on a perceived drop in demand and gasoline prices spiking in response to lower supply", Sandy Fielden, director of research commodities and energy at Morningstar Commodities Research, said in an emailed note.

Motiva Enterprises' Port Arthur plant, which has been in operation for more than 100 years, stopped operating Tuesday night.

Exxon Mobil closed its Beaumont refinery that has a capacity of 363,000 barrels per day, while Total and Valero were suspending operations as well in the same area. He estimated it could affect 1 percent of the USA gross domestic product, eventually costing about $160 billion.

Harvey, which first came ashore on Friday in Texas as a Category 4 hurricane, dumped more than 51 inches of rain on some parts of the state, according to preliminary reports from the National Weather Service.

Motiva's facility is the country's largest, with a daily capacity of 603,000 barrels. Around 2.2 million barrels per day of refining capacity has been disrupted. A return to that level won't be quick or easy.

"While the refinery is dealing with some water within the plant and localized road flooding, our employees are making extraordinary efforts to allow Motiva to continue to safely operate the refinery", it added. For example, the US Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) Corpus Christi has begun opening certain waterways within the COTP zone.

Port Arthur is home the the nation's largest oil refinery.

Colonial Pipeline, the main conduit for gasoline and diesel from the Gulf Coast to the eastern USA, is already operating at reduced rates because it is not receiving supply from the Houston area.

The catastrophic downpours in Port Arthur, Texas, have been so severe that a major shelter is becoming submerged - with shocking images showing waterlogged cots and evacuees cowering in the bleachers.

Harvey's disruption of the petroleum industry has driven gasoline futures prices up almost 17 percent over the past week.

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