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U.S. Army Corps clearing Louisiana Calcasieu Ship Channel after Delta

·1 min read

Oct 16 (Reuters) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said on Friday it has removed one obstacle from the Calcasieu Ship Channel in Louisiana following Hurricane Delta and was in the process of clearing another.

The Army Corps, however, did not say when it expects to be able to restore full 40-foot (12.2-meter) deep draft traffic to the channel.

"The oil rig was removed and the sunken boat is still in the process of being removed," Army Corps spokesman Ricky Boyett told Reuters.

"We should have the plans finalized for removal of the rock barge this weekend," Boyett said, noting the Army Corps was also dredging the bar channel to address post-Delta shoaling. The bar channel extends into the Gulf of Mexico.

Delta slammed into the Louisiana coast on Oct. 9.

Earlier in the week, the Army Corps said inland reaches of the Calcasieu River were open but restricted to vessels drafting less than 25 feet during daylight hours.

The Calcasieu Channel allows vessels to access the Cameron liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant, the Lake Charles refineries owned by Citgo Petroleum Corp and Philips 66, and other energy facilities.

Analysts said a fully laden LNG tanker has a draft of around 40 feet. LNG tankers, however, can move through shallower water so long as they do not carry a full cargo.

Traders said that is likely what happened when the SK Audace LNG tanker went to Cameron during the first week of October, which was before the Army Corps finished dredging the ship channel after Hurricane Laura hit the region.

There was at least one LNG tanker waiting in the Gulf of Mexico to go to Cameron, according to data from Refinitiv.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by David Gregorio)