U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry authorized on Thursday an emergency release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) of 500,000 barrels of crude oil after Hurricane Harvey disrupted the petroleum industry in Texas and Louisiana, and led to motor fuel price spikes and shortages.
“In response to the impacts from Hurricane Harvey, the U.S. Secretary of Energy has authorized the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to negotiate and execute an emergency exchange agreement with the Phillips 66 Lake Charles Refinery. This decision will authorize 200,000 barrels of sweet crude oil and 300,000 barrels of sour crude oil to be drawn down from SPR’s West Hackberry site and delivered via pipeline to the Phillips 66 refinery,” DOE Spokeswoman Jess Szymanski said in the statement, which Secretary Perry tweeted.
“The Department will continue to provide assistance as deemed necessary, and will continue to review incoming requests for SPR crude oil. Should the Secretary decide to approve additional requests for an emergency exchange of crude oil from the SPR, the public will be notified,” the Department of Energy further noted.
Due to Harvey and the flooding it caused, around 20 percent of the U.S. refining capacity is being shut down, including the biggest and second-biggest refineries in the U.S.—Port Arthur and Baytown.
According to the DOE’s latest available event report at the time of writing, as of 4:00pm EDT on Wednesday, 10 refineries in the Gulf Cost region were shut down, with six having begun assessing damages and restarting, which may take several days.
In onshore production, 300,000 bpd-500,000 bpd of crude production has been shut-in in the Eagle Ford from a pre-storm production estimate of 870,000 bpd, the DOE said, citing the Texas Railroad Commission.
In offshore crude production, as of 11:30 CDT on Wednesday, 18.50 percent of the current oil production of 1,750,000 bpd the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in, equal to 323,760 bpd, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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