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U.S. SPR Site Suffers Negligible Damage After Direct Hit From Hurricane Laura

The damage from Hurricane Laura on one of the four U.S. sites holding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is limited to buildings and other support infrastructure, with caverns and pipes intact, the Department of Energy said, as carried by Reuters.

The West Hackberry storage site in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, was hit by Hurricane Laura at the end of last month. Laura made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in southwestern Louisiana near Cameron.  

West Hackberry currently has 21 storage caverns, an authorized storage capacity of 220.4 million barrels, and a cavern inventory of 194.8 million barrels, according to data from the Department of Energy.

West Hackberry is one of four storage sites for the U.S. SPR, which has a total authorized storage capacity of 714 million barrels. As of September 4, the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve held a total of 647.9 million barrels of crude oil.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was set up in the 1970s when the Arab oil embargo created a fuel crisis in the United States.  

After Hurricane Laura hit the Louisiana coast, the Department of Energy said that at the end of August that the West Hackberry site had “sustained considerable damage,” and that estimates of all damages would be completed later.  

West Hackberry was shut before Hurricane Laura made landfall and continues to be without electricity. While there is damage to fences and buildings and power transmission lines, the infrastructure that holds and delivers crude oil to the market, including the caverns, pipes, valves, and pumps are “intact and in a safe idle condition,” DOE said, as carried by Reuters.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette visited the West Hackberry site on Wednesday to survey the damage from Hurricane Laura.

“Grateful for our dedicated employees who have continued to keep operations moving in case our nation needs to utilize the oil,” Brouillette tweeted.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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