Crude oil refineries and gas terminals along the Gulf Coast have taken steps to resume operations in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, which did only limited damage to the energy infrastructure in the U.S. Southeast, according to trade associations and representatives of the refineries.
All terminals in Fort Lauderdale and Tampa have reopened, along with several others in Florida. The four refineries in Georgia remain closed, as do those in South Carolina. Seven terminals in Jacksonville also remain closed for now. The combined daily processing capacity of these seven accounts for a total of 9.48 million barrels of crude.
None of the refineries in the region sustained any damages, said Ned Bowman, CEO of the Florida Petroleum Marketers’ Association, adding that “Florida escaped pretty easily. It could have been a lot, lot worse.”
Major ports on the Floridian coast have also reopened, ensuring continued supply of crude, most of which Florida’s refineries get by tankers. The refineries and terminals in South Carolina and Georgia are currently surveying the damages, some of them hoping to reopen today.
Hurricane Matthew is the strongest storm to hit the region since 2007, when category 5 Hurricane Felix delivered 160 mph winds and caused the deaths of over 130 people.
Natural disasters have a long history of disrupting oil and gas production and supplies.
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In 2008 Hurricane Ike crashed into the Gulf Coast, knocking about 700,000 barrels per day of oil production offline in the Gulf. It also forced several refineries to close their doors, dropping gasoline production by around 300,000 barrels per day.
Hurricane Rita in September 2005 struck the Gulf Coast as well, only a month after Hurricane Katrina, forcing many oil platforms offshore to close down. More than 34 million barrels of oil were not produced because of the two hurricanes, equivalent to about 6 percent of a year’s worth of production.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.