Refineries shut, operating at reduced runs as Isaac moves inland

[Story updated 2 p.m. Aug. 30 with latest BSEE statistics]

Five refineries were shut down and six others operated at reduced rates as the slow-moving Isaac made its way across Louisiana where it was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm several hours after making landfall near New Orleans late on Aug. 28.

New Orleans missed a direct hit by Isaac, which the National Hurricane Center downgraded to a tropical storm at 2 p.m. EDT Aug. 29. The storm was forecast to move inland over Louisiana Aug. 30 and over southern Arkansas by early Aug. 31.

The five closed refineries, all in Louisiana, represented 936,500 b/d of capacity, or 12% of total Gulf Coast refining capacity, said the US Department of Energy Office of Electricity Deliver and Energy Reliability.

DOE listed those five as Chalmette Refining in Chalmette, Motiva’s refinery in Convent, Phillips 66’s refinery in Bella Chasse, Placid Refining in Port Allen, and Valero’s refinery in Norco.

Six additional refineries having an aggregated capacity of 1.7 million b/d operated at reduced rates.

Although it did not specify volumes, DOE listed the refineries having reduced runs as Chevron’s refinery in Pascagoula, Miss., Shell’s refinery in Saraland, Ala., Alon’s refinery in Krotz Springs, La., ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge, La., refinery, Marathon’s Garyvilla, La., refinery, and Motiva’s refinery in Norco, La.

As of 11:30 a.m. EDT Aug. 30, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement reported 1.3 million b/d of gulf crude oil production was shut-in, equivalent to 94.99% of the gulf oil production. BSEE reported 3.26 bcfd, or 72.5%, of gulf gas production shut in.

Personnel were evacuated from 509 production platforms of the 596 manned platforms as well as from 50 rigs out of the 76 rigs currently operating in the gulf.

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