Irish Times: Energy industry in US hit by Hurricane Rita: “…the most damage occurred at the three refineries in Port Arthur, Texas - Valero, Shell and Total - and the ExxonMobil refinery in Beaumont, Texas.”: Tuesday 27 September 2005
Hurricane Rita has left its mark on the US energy industry. Initial damage assessments have found that it shut down four US refineries, pulled a Chevron production platform from its mooring, caused visible damage to at least two oil-drilling platforms and left 38 mobile drilling units adrift.
Government figures showed 100 per cent of Gulf of Mexico crude oil output and 80 per cent of the area's natural gas production were shut as a precaution ahead of the storm. All facilities involved must be inspected and in some cases repaired before they are returned to service.
The industry was already facing fuel supply difficulties caused by Hurricane Katrina, and Rita will add to difficulties.
In addition to refineries damaged along the Texas-Louisiana border, the 15 gulf coast refineries which were shut as a precaution will take several days to restart - even without damage - tightening the refined product market further.
"Losses from those plants add up," said Jay Saunders of Deutsche Bank.
Mark Flannery of CSFB Global Energy said: "Almost one-third of US refining capacity is currently offline, but more than half of this is expected back online over the next week, leaving almost 10 per cent of US refining capacity likely offline into October, and perhaps up to 5 per cent out for the rest of the year."
Chevron said it was assessing offshore oil and natural gas production facilities as weather permitted. Initial assessments had revealed that its Typhoon tension leg platform - located in 2,000ft (610m) of water 266 km (165 miles) south-southwest of New Orleans - was severed from its mooring and suffered severe damage during the storm.
Mr Saunders said the most damage occurred at the three refineries in Port Arthur, Texas - Valero, Shell and Total - and the ExxonMobil refinery in Beaumont, Texas.
Total, the French energy company, said Rita had cut power to its refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, forcing it to declare force majeure because it was unable to deliver any product.
Katrina and Rita, which damaged a significant number of rigs exploring for oil in the US Gulf of Mexico, have made matters worse for companies planning to explore for oil. Rita is also expected to have a significant impact on the gas industry, which traditionally lags behind the oil price. - (Financial Times Service)
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