Refineries clustered around the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, are taking stock and assessing the impact Hurricane Ida had on their plants and surrounding infrastructure, with nearly 75% of Louisiana refining capacity offline as of Aug. 30.
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The storm made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Aug. 29, about 100 miles south of New Orleans, near Port Fourchon.
According to estimates from S&P Global Platts Analytics, about 2.2 million b/d of refining capacity was offline from the storm as of Aug. 30, with the majority of plants without power from outside supplier Entergy.
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The state's two largest refineries -- ExxonMobil's 520,000 b/d Baton Rouge plant and Marathon's 578,000 b/d Garyville refinery -- were shut down by the storm. Originally, only about half of Baton Rouge was shut, but eventually was forced to shut down fully, a company spokesperson said Aug. 30.
"The ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery is shutting down units to stabilize operations. Once we confirm we have access to needed feedstocks and third-party utilities to stabilize our systems, we will begin the process of returning to normal operations," said Julie King in an email.
King said that the refinery and adjacent chemical plant did not sustain any significant damage during the storm.
At Marathon's 578,000 b/d Garyville refinery, operations were shuttered prior to arrival of the storm.
"Our Garyville refinery was safely shut down prior to Hurricane Ida's arrival. We are currently assessing a timeline for safely resuming operations," said Jamal Kheiry, Marathon spokesperson via an Aug. 30 email.
75% refining capacity impacted
Almost 75% of Louisiana's refining capacity was impacted by Hurricane Ida as of Aug. 30, which made landfall on the 16th anniversary of the deadly Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.
Louisiana has about 2.95 million b/d of crude processing capacity, according to the most recent information from the Energy Information Administration.
Refineries in the western part of the state clustered around the oil hub of Lake Charles and Port Arthur, Texas, were operating, albeit at reduced rates.
Citgo Petroleum, which had slightly reduced rates at 418,000 b/d Lake Charles refinery, had returned to full capacity. Phillips 66, which also has a 260,000 b/d refinery in Westlake, had said it was adjusting its refinery operations "based on the storm's progression."
Power outages hamper restart
Other refineries closed ahead of the storm were hampered by the lack of power from utility, Entergy.
As of 9 am CDT on Aug. 30, Entergy said it had 899,951 power outages in Louisiana, due to Hurricane Ida, and expected power outages to increase as the storm moves through Mississippi.
"Where weather permitted, our crews were out at first light today assessing damage when it was safe to do so...It would premature to speculate at this time when power will be restored given the extent of the damage," the statement said.
One transmission line and tower spanning the Mississippi River, which had withstood Katrina, was reported down, Entergy said, impacting refineries to the east of New Orleans.
On the west side of the Mississippi, Entergy's power outage map shows the two Norco refineries – Shell's 230,611 b/d plant and Valero's 215,000 b/d plant – have access to power.
Updates from the company were not immediately available as to whether Shell had resumed operations at the Norco plant which had shut down on Aug. 27.
A Valero company spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on the status of its 215,000 b/d St. Charles refinery in Norco on Aug. 30.
Also shuttered by the storm was Valero's joint venture renewable diesel plant, the 290 million gal/year Diamond Green Diesel facility, also owned by Darling Ingredients. The plant is located within the refinery gates.
To the east of New Orleans, power outages abound. Valero had shut down its 125,000 b/d Meraux refinery in Chalmette ahead of the storm. PBF Energy also shut its 190,000 b/d facility prior to the storm, a source familiar with refinery operations said.
Hurricane Ida zeros in on New Orleans-area refineries