Louisiana Refiners Face Difficult Storm Recovery

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Louisiana’s refining sector on Wednesday continued to work toward restarting some of the capacity that was shut down by Hurricane Ida, but power outages and transportation issues are slowing the process. At least 1.3 million barrels per day in refining capacity remained off line as of midday Wednesday -- an improvement from the roughly 2 million b/d that was still shut down on Tuesday (OD Aug.31'21). Refiners along the US Gulf of Mexico coast had been operating at some 92.4% capacity prior to Ida’s landfall, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), which suggests the Ida-related refinery outages translate to at least 5.5 million barrels of products and crude backed out in just three days. Crude production in the US Gulf of Mexico was also brought to an almost complete halt by the powerful storm but started to pick back up on Wednesday (related). According to regional power supplier Entergy, there were still roughly 830,000 outages as of late Tuesday night. Meanwhile, debris continued to clog waterways and roads, impeding recovery efforts and damage assessments. Experts said that refiners typically take two to three weeks to recover from hurricanes. Restarting a facility is not a simple procedure, one engineer said, and it can take time to ramp up to full utilization. Logistical hurdles outside the refinery gate -- such as power outages and unsafe road conditions -- can introduce wrinkles as well.

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