Taking Stock in the Wake of Rita

Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Five refineries in Texas and Louisiana suffered significant damage from Hurricane Rita over the weekend and at least two of them will take weeks to come back on line, Reuters reported. U.S. oil companies on Monday took stock and began recovery efforts to Gulf of Mexico refineries and offshore production infrastructure after Hurricane Rita, the second major storm in a month to strike at the heart of the U.S. energy industry.

Rita wreaked havoc on at least five refineries in Port Arthur, Texas, and Lake Charles, Louisiana Two of them said it could be weeks before they restart.

The U.S. Department of Energy said Rita and Katrina had taken out about 4.4 million barrels per day or about 25 percent of total U.S. refining capacity. Of this, 1.4 million barrels, or 8 percent, could be closed for weeks or months.

In Port Arthur, Valero Energy Corp.'s 250,000 barrel per day refinery and Total's 233,000 barrel per day refinery will be shut for two to four weeks, company officials said.

Most oil and gas producers were still assessing the damage Rita wrought on exploration and production facilities. Crude oil output from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico remained completely shut in for the third straight day, the U.S. government said on Monday. The Minerals Management Service said 1.527 million barrels per day of crude oil production was shut in, compared with the 1.501 million barrels shut in on Sunday. This brings total crude oil production shut-in since August 26 by Katrina and Rita to 34.8 million barrels.

About 78.4 percent, or 7.8 billion cubic feet, of natural gas remained shut in by Rita, down from the 8.047 billion cubic feet or 80.47 percent shut in on Sunday. So far, 163.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas has been shut in since August 26 by Katrina and Rita. (Source: Reuters)

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