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Louisiana Refineries Could Take Weeks To Restart After Hurricane Ida

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The refineries in Louisiana that were shut ahead of or during the passing of Hurricane Ida this weekend could take weeks to restart as power and water services have yet to be restored in the state’s Gulf Coast.

After the storm passed, refiners on the Gulf Coast began assessing the damage, which was estimated to have shut in 13 percent of U.S. refining capacity.

While analysts expect oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico to be gradually restored this week, refiners may take longer to restart facilities, especially if power outages in Louisiana persist.

Utilities across Louisiana are working to restore power to residential and commercial areas. According to Entergy, Hurricane Ida’s Category 4 winds, 15-foot storm surge and flooding made it one of the most devastating storms to hit the Entergy region. The estimated 950,000 customers affected is second only to Hurricane Katrina’s 1.1 million who were left without power.

Electricity is critical to refinery restarts and to the pipelines supplying crude to those refineries.

PBF Energy, whose 190,000-barrel-per-day Chalmette refinery remains shut, is waiting for a utilities’ damage assessment and plans for restoring power, spokesman Michael Karlovich told Reuters.

Exxon started procedures to restart its 520,000-bpd refinery in Baton Rouge after the electricity supply was restored.

Phillips 66 confirmed late on Wednesday that flooding occurred at Alliance Refinery resulting from Hurricane Ida and that the refinery remains shut down.

“The company can also confirm it discovered a sheen of unknown origin in some flooded areas of Alliance Refinery. At this time, the sheen appears to be secured and contained within refinery grounds. Clean-up crews are on site,” said Phillips 66 of its refinery in Plaquemines Parish.

Jade Duplessis, a spokeswoman for the parish, told Reuters that officials had been told to expect three weeks of no power.  

As of 8 a.m. CT on Thursday, 65.8 percent of Baton Rouge gas stations were without fuel, 65.2 percent of those in New Orleans, and 33.7 percent in Lafayette. Statewide in Louisiana, 35.6 percent of stations were without fuel this morning, Patrick De Haan, petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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