More than two dozen oil tankers are jamming Louisiana ports in the wake of Hurricane Ida as port operators continue to assess the damage, Reuters reports, citing sources and ship-tracking data.
Ida made landfall in Louisiana earlier this week, leaving chaos in its wake. Some 95 percent of Gulf of Mexico oil production was shut in ahead of the storm and more than a tenth of U.S. oil refining capacity. Platforms and refineries are currently being restarted.
In the meantime, only a few ports between Louisiana and Alabama have reopened, with limits on vessel drafts, Reuters noted in its report, suggesting it would be a while until normal maritime traffic recovers.
The tanker situation is worst in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, according to the cited data. In total, there are 30 oil tankers off the Louisiana coast waiting to load or unload their cargo. The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) remains closed, as does the Port of Fourchon, another important oil hub in Louisiana. According to a local port official, it could take weeks until the port reopens.
"It'll take weeks to get things back up and running. How many weeks is a good question," said a Greater Lafourche Port official in an interview with NPR. "We have a long road ahead of us and there's a lot of damage for us to assess and try to recover from."
"What we're seeing is tons of damage, obviously, being exactly where the landfall was for Hurricane Ida. There's vessels, you know, in places that they're not supposed to be, to say the least," Chett Chiasson also said.
The damage done by the hurricane to the oil industry reversed a decline in gasoline prices, which had fallen to the lowest since early July, but on Monday, they started climbing back up. Yesterday, the national average was $3.159 per gallon, up from $3.151 per gallon a day earlier, according to AAA estimates.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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