USCG Shuts Upper Houston Ship Channel Amid Protests
The U.S. Coast Guard closed the upper Houston Ship Channel on Thursday morning as 11 Greenpeace USA protesters blocked a portion of the country's largest oil port near Baytown, Texas, the agency said.The channel is closed from Light 102A to Light 104, the Coast Guard said in a notice.The closure of the Ship Channel at that location blocks tanker ship traffic to and from five major refineries in the Houston area, including Exxon Mobil Corp's 560,500-barrel-per-day refinery in Baytown, which is 26 miles (42 km) east of downtown Houston.One ship was waiting to enter the Ship Channel, which links the Gulf of Mexico and the Port of Houston…
Fuel Futures: Diesel Will Spike on IMO2020
New marine fuel rules to boost diesel prices for at least a year -analystsGlobal prices for diesel and marine fuels should rise by October ahead of a January switchover to new, very low-sulfur marine fuels, and remain higher for at least a year as refiners shift production to make more of the new fuels, analysts said.Marine fuels containing no more than 0.5% sulfur by weight, down from the 3.5% currently used, to power ocean-going vessels will be required for ships without exhaust scrubbers on Jan.
U.S. Refiners' 2020 Plans Now Uncertain
U.S. refiners had a plan for 2020: use their complex operations to maximize profits by making products that would comply with new international laws capping sulfur content in shipping fuels.But after a series of unexpected market moves, heavy, sour crude oil processed by U.S. refiners has become more expensive, eating up hoped-for profit windfalls before they even materialized, forcing refiners to rethink plans to invest more in heavy crude processing units.New regulations by…
PDVSA to Divert Tankers to Nearby Port after Collision
Venezuela's state-run PDVSA is organizing a contingency plan to address its latest oil-export problem following a minor accident last week at the country's main crude terminal, two sources from the firm told Reuters on Friday.A tanker collision that damaged Jose port's South dock and forced its closure has added to delays in loading crude for export, especially to customers such as Russia's Rosneft and U.S.-based Valero Energy Corp and Chevron Corp.Oil tankers that were assigned…
Valero Boosts Imports of Venezuelan Oil as Sanctions Loom
U.S. refiner Valero Energy Corp this year boosted its imports of Venezuelan crude ahead of U.S. sanctions over the country's disputed presidential election and as other customers received less of the OPEC-member's exports, according to Thomson Reuters trade flows data.Venezuelan oil production has tumbled to a multi-decade low this year, cutting shipments to buyers in the United States and elsewhere and worsening a severe economic recession. Its crude exports averaged 1.19 million barrels per day (bpd) in the January-April period…
Oil/Chemical Spills from Harvey Are Big, but Dwarfed by Katrina
More than 22,000 barrels of oil, refined fuels and chemicals spilled at sites across Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, along with millions of cubic feet of natural gas and hundreds of tons of other toxic substances, a Reuters review of company reports to the U.S. Coast Guard shows. The spills, clustered around the heart of the U.S. oil industry, together rank among the worst environmental mishaps in the country in years, but fall far short of the roughly 190,000 barrels spilled in Louisiana in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina - the last major storm to take dead aim at the U.S. Gulf Coast. Harvey slammed ashore in Texas on Aug. 26, unleashing record flooding around Houston that destroyed countless homes, displaced around a million people and killed scores. The U.S.
USCG, EPA Cleaning up a Dozen Texas Chemical Spills after Harvey
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency are working with Texas state regulators to clean up oil and chemicals spilled from a dozen industrial facilities after flooding from Hurricane Harvey, authorities said. The spills came from oil refineries, fuel terminals and other businesses, but EPA spokeswoman Terri White said it was not possible to provide an estimate for the amounts spilled. "Initial reports were based on observation," White said. Refineries owned by Valero Energy Corp in Houston, Motiva Inc in Port Arthur, and Exxon Mobile Corp in Baytown, were among the facilities that had reported spills, according to White. Representatives for those companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Retail Gasoline Prices Surge in Harvey's Choppy Wake
Nearly a quarter of U.S. refining capacity out; Motiva down for two weeks; Corpus Christi starts to reopen. Retail U.S. gasoline prices hit two-year highs and global shipping routes were scrambled as the nation's largest refiners remained shut on Friday, even as Harvey was losing strength. Major fuel pipelines feeding the U.S. Northeast and Midwest have been either closed or severely curtailed, prompting shortages in some areas and dramatic spikes in wholesale prices. The storm…
Oil Markets Brace for Possible US Sanctions on Venezuela
U.S. oil markets were readying for fallout from potential U.S. sanctions on Venezuela's vital oil sector on Monday after Sunday's election in the struggling country was deemed a "sham" by Washington. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday celebrated the election of a new legislative superbody that will have the power to dissolve state institutions such as the opposition-run Congress. Countries around the world denounced the vote. U.S. crude futures jumped above $50 a barrel for the first time in two months early in the session before retreating, after U.S.
Venezuelan Crude Sales to the US Down in March
Venezuelan crude oil sales to the United States declined in March for the third month in a row this year to 651,710 barrels per day due to falling exports of main grade Merey, according to Thomson Reuters trade flows data. Venezuela's crude output fell in 2016 to its lowest level in 23 years. Analysts expect another decline in 2017 due to lack of investment and to cash flow problems affecting state-run oil firm PDVSA, which controls more than 40 joint ventures for exploration and production. The volume of Venezuelan crude that PDVSA and its joint ventures exported in March was down by 2.3 percent from February and by 18 percent from a year earlier.
Houston Ship Channel Re-opens to Some Vessel Traffic
The Houston Ship Channel re-opened to some vessel traffic on Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard said, after an early morning tanker fire prompted closure of the waterway. The U.S. Coast Guard Houston Vessel Traffic Service said it would commence with tow vessel transit outbound from Old River and San Jacinto River. That would be followed by inbound movements, it said. The Houston Ship Channel links the busiest U.S. petrochemical port to the Gulf of Mexico. Four Houston-area refineries were unable to receive crude oil from tankers on Tuesday after a portion of the channel was shut by an early-morning fire aboard an empty tanker. The fire began shortly after midnight CDT (0500 GMT) aboard the 810-foot (247-meter) tanker the Aframax River and was extinguished within a few hours.
Part of Houston Ship Channel Shut; Tankers Stopped to 4 Refineries
Four Houston-area refineries were unable to receive crude oil from tankers on Tuesday after a portion of the Houston Ship Channel was shut due to a fire aboard an empty tanker, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. In Texas, Valero Energy Corp's Houston refinery, LyondellBasell Industries' Houston refinery, Petrobras' Pasadena refinery and Royal Dutch Shell's joint-venture Deer Park refinery have crude on-site in storage tanks and also have access to long-distance and short-haul pipeline systems. The four refineries have a combined crude oil throughput of 761,505 barrels per day (bpd), equal to 4 percent of U.S. refining capacity. The Coast Guard was conducting assessments about how long it would take to move the Aframax River…
Houston Ship Channel Reopened After Ship Fire
The Houston Ship Channel was re-opened after a burning tanker prompted a nearly three-hour shutdown of a two-mile-long (3.20-km-long) section of the largest petrochemical port in the United States. The fire was extinguished nearly 90 minutes after it started, but the channel remained closed for nearly another 90 minutes as firefighters monitored the air to ensure no toxic fumes lingered, Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Andrew Kendrick said. "Initially it was a big fire, but it came down pretty quickly," he said. Earlier on Monday, flames were seen shooting from the tanker Navigator Europa, moored outside the Targa LPG export terminal, according to a source and Reuters vessel tracking data. A representative for Targa Resources Corp did not respond to a phone call seeking comment.
Tanker Blaze Shuts Part of Houston Ship Channel
A burning tanker in the Houston Ship Channel on Monday prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to close a two-mile-long (3.20-km-long)section of the largest petrochemical port in the United States. The fire was extinguished nearly 90 minutes after it started, but the channel remained closed as firefighters monitored the air to ensure no toxic fumes lingered, Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Andrew Kendrick said. "Initially it was a big fire, but it came down pretty quickly," he said. Kendrick confirmed that the tanker was loading ethylene when the fire started, and said no injuries had been reported. Ethylene is a chemical used in making plastic. He said a few outbound ships were waiting to move, and a tugboat was waiting to go further into the channel.
U.S. West Coast Refiners Snap up Russian Crude
Move comes amid worries of seasonal dent in Alaskan supply; gap between U.S., international crude prices narrows. Refiners on the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii have stepped up purchases of Russian crude, taking advantage of a narrow gap between U.S. and global prices as they look to guard against a seasonal shortage of Alaskan supply, trade and industry sources said. Up to four tankers were expected to carry nearly 3 million barrels of Russia's ESPO crude from Kozmino near the city of Vladivostok to refineries in the United States this month and next, the sources said. That will help Russia diversify beyond key buyers in China, South Korea and Japan at a time when Asian markets are grappling with oversupply. Sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine bar U.S.
Pipeline Spill Could Hamper California Oil Projects
Hundreds of barrels of oil that gushed from a ruptured coastal pipeline in scenic California this week could stiffen opposition to large oil projects that companies want to build in the state, notably those to deliver cheap U.S. crude on trains. Several proposed oil-by-rail offloading terminals in California were already being contested in light of several fiery crude train derailments since 2013 that have stoked safety concerns about spills and explosions. Now, the sight of oil washing up on the shores of Santa Barbara could further galvanize rail opponents after up to 2…
Indiana Ports Set Cargo Record in 2014
The Ports of Indiana handled over 10.4 million tons of cargo in 2014, up nearly 26 percent from the previous year. This was the first time annual shipments exceeded 10 million tons in the port authority's 53-year history. The 2014 total was nearly 800,000 tons higher than the previous record set in 1994. Shipments of coal, agricultural products and steel helped drive significant increases in annual cargo volumes at the state's ports. Steel shipments more than doubled while grain shipments were up nearly 72 percent from 2013. Ethanol and dried distillers grains (DDGs) increased 54 percent and 51 percent, respectively, while salt shipments nearly tripled over the previous year.
Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon Bests Tonnage Records
The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon handled 735,000 tons of cargo in December, which was the highest ever single-month total at any of Indiana's three ports, and also produced the highest fourth-quarter shipments by any port in Ports of Indiana history. December's results were 31 percent higher than the previous single-month record set in 1993 and the port's fourth quarter shipments broke its own quarterly record established in 2013. The port finished 2014 with 4.85 million tons, up 17 percent from 2013 and the highest annual total since 1994.
Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon Sets Record
The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon handled 735,000 tons of cargo in December, which was the highest ever single-month total at any of Indiana's three ports, and also produced the highest fourth-quarter shipments by any port in Ports of Indiana history. December's results were 31 percent higher than the previous single-month record set in 1993 and the port's fourth quarter shipments broke its own quarterly record established in 2013. The port finished 2014 with 4.85 million tons, up 17 percent from 2013 and the highest annual total since 1994. Coal, grain, ethanol, dried distiller grains (DDG) and steel were the dominant cargoes in 2014.
Jones Act Tanker Chartered for Airline Refinery
Delta Air Lines Inc's refining unit has chartered a U.S.-flagged oil tanker for the first time, allowing it to tap directly into cheap Texas shale oil as the company overhauls its supply strategy. Monroe Energy LLC, the Delta subsidiary that runs the airline's 165,000 barrel per day (bpd) Trainer refinery, has time-chartered the 330,000-barrel MR Seabulk Arctic, a Jones Act vessel built in 1998, for two years beginning in August, according to sources familiar with the deal. A Delta spokesman confirmed the charter but provided no further details. It has an option to switch to a newly build ship in 2016 for an additional three years. Seabulk Tankers Inc…
Oil Producers Hope DC Talks Ease Export Ban
Recent meetings between U.S. oil producers and Commerce Department officials have fueled industry hopes that the Obama administration may soon begin to ease a longstanding ban on oil exports. Although it would require an act of Congress to end the four-decade export ban, some analysts and executives believe the White House may be getting ready to open up the taps a bit, allowing some export of a super-light form of oil known as condensate, which falls into a regulatory gray area. Executives and sources said a number of major shale oil producers have quietly stepped up lobbying efforts over the contentious energy issue in recent weeks, meeting with officials from the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which oversees exports.
Pemex Resumes Light Crude Sales to U.S. West Coast
Mexico's Pemex has quietly begun shipping light Isthmus crude to a variety of West Coast refiners this year, according to U.S. and Reuters data, resuming such sales after a six-year hiatus. The state-run oil company, which exported only about 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Isthmus last year, shipped about 340,000 barrels of the crude to Valero Energy Corp at Benicia, California, in January and February, according to U.S. government data. It sent another 350,000 barrels (48,000 tonnes) to Tesoro Corp in San Francisco in March, according to Eikon's trade flow database based on PIERS data. Pemex then exported another 150,000 barrels to Shell Trading at Anacortes, Washington, in May from the Salina Cruz terminal.
Pipeline Breaks, Spills Crude Oil Into LA Neighborhood
A faulty Valve Pump station at a Petroleum Pipeline Ruptured Early on Thursday in an Industrial corner of Los Angeles, spewing Crude Oil 40 Feet (12 meters) into the Air, onto the Roof of a strip club next door, and leaving four people sick from the fumes. An Estimated 10,000 gallons of Oil gushed from the Pipeline before it was shut down and the spill was halted, soaking an Area about a half-Block Long, Los Angeles Fire Department Captain Jaime Moore Said. The Company that runs the Pipeline…