Ship Channel Set To Open Saturday

Friday, July 07, 2000
The U.S. Coast Guard will attempt to reopen the Lake Charles, Louisiana, ship channel to all ships including large crude oil tankers on Saturday, a spokesman said.

The Coast Guard will attempt to refloat the sunken dry dock that has since mid-June stopped crude tankers getting to two big Gulf Coast refineries served by the channel. An initial refloat attempt was set for July 3, but work was delayed by mechanical problems.

All shipping will be stopped through the channel early on Saturday morning to allow work to go ahead.

Currently large crude vessels still cannot get to Conoco Inc.'s 243,000 bpd Lake Charles plant and Citgo Corp.'s 310,000 bpd plant, the spokesman said.

The companies have been able to get crude to Lake Charles by means other than oil tankers, such as lightering crude onto smaller vessels. They also each received a 500,000-barrel crude oil swap with the U.S. Department of Energy from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

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