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Officials warn that Hurricane Ida could cause a severe blow to the region’s economy

Above Video: “Watch Out And Be Prepared” For Hurricane Ida, Warns President Joe BidenA intensifying Hurricane Ida, which brings high winds and the likelihood of flooding to the Louisiana coast, could harm the Gulf Coast’s energy-intensive economy and possibly have economic consequences far beyond the region. In addition to being an important base for oil and natural gas companies, the Gulf is also an important hub for the country’s chemical and shipping industries. The companies evacuated oil and gas rigs south of Louisiana before the hurricane. Much greater concern, however, was possible damage to refineries and petrochemical plants on the planned route from floods and storm surges. Almost 300 offshore platforms – or half of the manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico – were evacuated before the storm and their production was temporarily suspended, the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said on its website on Saturday. Floating drilling rigs were also cleared. Overall, more than 80% of oil and gas production in the Gulf region has been stopped, the agency said. A potentially more serious concern, however, was the fate of refineries and petrochemical plants along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in or near the planned route of a storm whose maximum sustained winds are expected to reach 130 mph by late Sunday. Louisiana’s 17 oil refineries account for nearly a fifth of the country’s refining capacity and can process approximately 3.4 million barrels of crude oil per day, according to Energy Information administration. Many could be at risk from flooding. The EIA said Ida could affect local energy supplies – especially fuel and electricity for transportation. It is less clear whether domestic fuel supplies could be affected. The daily oil consumption in the USA is close to 20 million barrels per day. Analysts said it was too early to say, despite S&P Global Platts saying the storm could halt 765,000 barrels a day in golf production. It wasn’t immediately clear how many refineries and petrochemical plants could shut down his refinery on the Mississippi south of New Orleans in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, in part because of “storm surge potential,” said company spokesman Bernardo Fallas. The daily capacity is 250,000 barrels produces around 520,000 barrels of crude oil per day and continued to operate, while Chevron said it had ceased operations at the terminals on the Mississippi and on the Gulf Coast as well as the associated pipeline systems. Shell, Marathon and Valero also have refineries near the storm’s predicted path. “The industry may have seen this too many times in the past few decades,” said Peter McNally, energy analyst at Third Bridge, of the hurricane. Several Refineries Es in Lake Charles, west of Ida’s projected path, suffered wind damage from Hurricane Laura almost exactly a year ago. Worst place for a hurricane. “Although refineries and petrochemical plants are generally built to withstand high winds, they are not necessarily flood prepared, a growing problem as global warming leads to higher rainfall during major storms. McNally said the industry is the most concerned about flooding that wreaked so much devastation in the Houston area with Hurricane Harvey in 2017 when petroleum products spilled on flooded tankers and chemical plants. These things are built to withstand winds, but floods have a harder time ” , he said. Sixty percent of the gasoline used on the east coast is shipped from the Gulf Coast, much of it through the Colonial Pipeline, which in addition to oil production, Louisiana represents 9% of US natural gas revenues. Last year, the state’s two liquefied natural gas export terminals shipped according to data the Energy Information Administration accounts for about 55% of total US LNG exports. ___Scientific author Seth Borenstein of AP in Kensington, Maryland contributed to this report.

Above video: “Beware and be prepared” for Hurricane Ida, warns President Joe Biden

A intensifying Hurricane Ida, bringing high winds and the likelihood of flooding to the Louisiana coast, could damage the Gulf Coast’s energy-intensive economy and potentially have economic repercussions well beyond the region.

In addition to being an important base for oil and natural gas companies, the Gulf is also an important hub for the country’s chemical and shipping industries.

Companies evacuated oil and gas rigs south of Louisiana before the hurricane. Much greater worries, however, were possible damage to refineries and petrochemical plants on their forecast path from floods and storm surges.

Nearly 300 offshore platforms – or half of the manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico – were evacuated and temporarily halted production before the storm, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said on its website on Saturday. Floating drilling rigs were also cleared. Overall, more than 80% of oil and gas production in the Gulf has been stopped, the agency said.

A potentially more serious concern, however, was the fate of refineries and petrochemical plants along the Mississippi between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in or near the projected orbit of a storm whose maximum sustained winds were expected to reach 130 miles per hour with expected landfall late Sunday .

Louisiana’s 17 oil refineries account for nearly a fifth of the country’s refining capacity and can process approximately 3.4 million barrels of crude oil per day, according to the Energy Information Administration. Many could be at risk from flooding. The EIA said Ida could affect local energy supplies – especially fuel and electricity for transportation.

It is less clear whether domestic fuel supplies could be affected. The daily oil consumption in the USA is close to 20 million barrels per day. Analysts said it was too early to say, despite S&P Global Platts saying the storm could halt 765,000 barrels a day of golf production.

It was initially unclear how many refineries and petrochemical plants could be closed.

Phillips 66 stopped production at its Mississippi refinery south of New Orleans in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, in part because of “storm surge potential,” said company spokesman Bernardo Fallas. The daily capacity is 250,000 barrels.

Exxon Mobil announced that its Baton Rouge refinery, which produces around 520,000 barrels of crude oil a day, is still in operation, while Chevron claims to have ceased operations at terminals on the Mississippi and the Gulf Coast and associated pipeline systems. Shell, Marathon, and Valero also have refineries near the storm’s projected trajectory.

“The industry may have been through this too many times in the past few decades,” said Peter McNally, energy analyst at Third Bridge, of the hurricane. Several refineries in Lake Charles, west of Ida’s planned route, suffered wind damage from Hurricane Laura almost exactly a year ago.

Meteorologist Jeff Masters, who flew hurricane missions for the government and founded Weather Underground, said Ida is expected to roam “simply the absolute worst place for a hurricane” to be.

Although refineries and petrochemical plants are generally built to withstand high winds, they are not necessarily prepared for flooding, an increasing problem as global warming leads to higher rainfall during large storms.

McNally said the industry was most concerned about flooding, which wreaked so much havoc in the Houston area with Hurricane Harvey in 2017, when petroleum products spilled in the flooded tankers and chemical plants.

“Louisiana is low, so you’re prone to flooding. These things are built to withstand winds, but flooding makes it harder,” he said.

Sixty percent of the gasoline consumed on the east coast is shipped from the Gulf Coast, much of it through the Colonial Pipeline, which is in the way of the storm.

In addition to oil production, Louisiana accounts for 9% of US natural gas revenues. Last year, the state’s two liquefied natural gas export terminals shipped about 55% of total US LNG exports, according to the Energy Information Administration.

___

AP science writer Seth Borenstein of Kensington, Maryland contributed to this report.

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