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Hurricane Ida disruption

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

On Sunday 29 August, Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, US as a Category 4 hurricane. As a result of the hurricane, 96% of crude oil production and 94% of natural gas production in the US federally administered areas of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) were shut in, according to estimates by the US Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. At least nine refineries shut down or reduced production. As a result, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reduced its forecast for crude oil production and refinery runs in its September ‘Short-Term Energy Outlook’ (STEO).

The EIA revised down its estimate for US crude oil production in the GOM in August by 0.2 million bpd from the August STEO to 1.5 million bpd in the September STEO. It reduced its forecast of production in the GOM for September by 0.5 million bpd from the August STEO to 1.2 million bpd in the September STEO. The EIA expects that disrupted GOM crude oil production will return through September, increasing to its previously forecast levels in October. Last year, the GOM accounted for 15% of US crude oil production.

According to the EIA’s ‘Weekly Petroleum Status Report’, gross inputs into Gulf Coast refineries fell by 1.6 million bpd from the week ending 27 August to the week ending 3 September. Although some refiners have resumed operations or begun the process for restarting, the EIA expects refinery runs will average 713 000 bpd lower in September than they would have without the disruptions.

Repairs to any infrastructure required to resume refinery operations, however, could potentially take longer, making the forecast highly uncertain. The EIA forecasts that average crude oil inputs into refineries later this year will be mostly unchanged from our previous August STEO forecast.

From 27 August to 3 September, the EIA’s ‘Weekly Petroleum Status Report’ data indicate crude oil inventories in the Gulf Coast fell by 2.6 million bbl and US crude oil production fell by 1.5 million bpd. Over the same period, crude oil imports into the Gulf Coast fell by 247 000 bpd to 787 000 bpd. US crude oil exports, which are mostly exported from the Gulf Coast, fell by 698 000 bpd over the same period.

On 14 September, Hurricane Nicholas made landfall as a Category 1 storm about 50 miles south of Houston. As a result of power outages, Colonial Pipeline (which runs from Houston up the East Coast of the US) shut down two product pipelines. Trade press reports indicate that Colonial has resumed normal operations on both lines. The Houston Ship Channel was closed to traffic on September 13, but normal operations are expected to resume 15 September.

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