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Oil ports in Louisiana slowly reopen; U.S. vows to keep gasoline flowing

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Oil ports in Louisiana are slowly reopening vessel traffic after Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on the state and left millions with no power. As refineries are still shut and conducting assessments, President Joe Biden has vowed to keep gasoline flowing.

According to Reuters, citing the Coast Guard, most of Louisiana’s ports, including the Port of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, opened vessel traffic this Thursday. However, a collapsed transmission line in the Mississippi river is limiting access to four refineries in the area.

Despite the reopening of vessel traffic, oil ports sustained severe damage. “The area is completely devastated.” Said Tony Odak, COO of Stone Oil Distributor; a top fuel supplier to the offshore industry. His company is relocating activities in western Louisiana.

Moreover, according to tanker tracking data and shipping sources, more than two dozen oil tankers scheduled to discharge imported crude for Louisiana refineries anticipate some delays in the delivery.

Other oil ports across the area are slowly returning to normal. Some pipelines and oil processing facilities remain shut due to the extension of power outages and flooding. Among those shut, are seven oil refineries that produce gasoline and motor fuels. As we have reported previously, Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66 and Valero Energy, and PBF Energy are among the refiners affected.

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Oil ports slowly returning to normal; offshore follows

Michael Karlovich, a spokesman for PBF Energy, said about the matter. “Like everyone else, we are waiting on the results of the utility’s damage assessment and their plans for re-energizing the grid.”

On the other hand, as outlined above, President Joe Biden is facing major trouble with gasoline shortages and spiking prices. To face the situation, the White House said this Thursday it is considering an emergency release of fuel stocks to meet demand and keep gasoline flowing.

In addition, Biden has directed the Department of Energy to “use all tools available. Including the Strategic Petroleum Reserve”, to keep gasoline flowing, according to Reuters.

Finally, as for offshore oil and natural gas production, 80% of its remains shut in the Gulf of Mexico. Only a few companies like BHP, and Murphy Oil, among others, are taking first steps to restart production. According to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, just 39 of the 288 platforms evacuated last week had received new crews as of Wednesday.

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