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EIA Report on Hurricane Impacts on U.S. Energy 

 As of Sunday, September 14, 3:00 pm     See current        

U.S. Oil and Natural Gas Market Impacts

NYMEX Futures Prices
(for October delivery)
Pre-Gustav 8/29/2008 change Week Ago
Year Ago
  WTI Crude Oil ($/Bbl)
  Gasoline RBOB* (c/gal)
  Heating Oil (c/gal)
  Natural Gas ($/MMBtu)
*RBOB = Reformulated Blendstock for Oxygenate Blending (RBOB), the base gasoline that needs to be blended with some type of oxygenate, now usually ethanol, to be turned into finished reformulated gasoline (RFG). Ethanol is not blended into the gasoline mixture until just before the gasoline is shipped to the retail stations.

As of 12:30 pm EDT (11:30 am CDT), September 14, the Minerals Management Service was reporting that 1.3 million barrels per day (or almost 100 percent) of the federal portion of the Gulf of Mexico’s crude oil production was shut-in.  As of 8:00 pm EDT (7:00 pm CDT), September 13, the Department of Energy reported that there are 15 refineries in Texas and Louisiana that are shut down ahead of Hurricane Ike.  These 15 refineries have a total capacity of nearly 3.9 million barrels per day (22 percent of U.S. operable capacity), and represent over 1.4 million barrels per day of gasoline output (about 16 percent of U.S. gasoline demand in September) and nearly 1.0 million barrels per day of distillate fuel output (about 24 percent of U.S. demand in September), based on recent historical data.  At this time, it is unclear how long these refineries will remain shut down.  So far, since refineries first shut down before Hurricane Gustav, over 24 million barrels of products have not been produced, including over 11 million barrels of gasoline and 8 million barrels of distillate fuel. This does not even include reduced production from refineries that have reduced runs at various times during Hurricanes Gustav or Ike.  As of late September 13, 9 refineries were running at a reduced rate.

As of 9:15 am on September 14, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) had resumed limited operations from its Clovelly storage facility, but tanker offloadings remain suspended.  As of September 14, the Colonial and Plantation product pipelines are operating at reduced rates.  Both of these are major product pipelines going from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast.

Until there is better information on how long facilities in the Gulf of Mexico region will be down, it is unclear what impact Hurricane Ike will ultimately have on prices.  So far, AAA reported that the average retail price for regular gasoline was up 6 cents per gallon in the last day, with 6 states seeing prices 25 cents per gallon higher now than this past Thursday. 

As of 2:30 pm EDT Sunday, September 14, oil prices remained well below pre-Hurricane Gustav levels.  Compared to prices before Hurricane Gustav, crude oil for October delivery was under $100 per barrel, or over $16 per barrel lower, while gasoline (RBOB) and heating oil were about 21 cents and 34 cents per gallon lower, respectively, as of 2:30 pm EDT on September 14. 

On September 14 the Department of Energy agreed to deliver 200,000 barrels of emergency exchange oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to ConocoPhillips Company’s Wood River refinery along the Capline pipeline system and will also deliver an additional 109,000 barrels of emergency exchange oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to Placid Oil’s Port Allen refinery along a Shell pipeline in Louisiana.  (see http://www.energy.gov/ for more information).

Natural Gas
As of 12:30 pm EDT (11:30 am CDT), September 14, the Minerals Management Service was reporting that 6.8 billion cubic feet per day (or about 90 percent) of the federal portion of the Gulf of Mexico’s natural gas production was shut-in.  The Department of Energy (DOE) reported that as of 7:00 am EDT (6:00 am CDT) September 14, there have been no reports of any significant damage to natural gas pipelines or production infrastructure, however major offshore pipelines are shut in as a result of evacuations of production platforms and onshore facilities. As mandatory evacuations are lifted, operators will begin the process of assessing the condition of facilities and systems and determine when normal operations can resume.  Texas Gas Transmission confirmed that the Henry Hub was not accepting natural gas flows as of 11:30 pm EDT (10:30 pm CDT). Henry Hub remains shut-in as a result of the storm surge and intermittent power outages cased by Hurricane Ike.  As of 10:00 am EDT (9:00 am CDT) September 14, 30 natural gas processing plants (with total capacity of over 14 billion cubic feet per day) are shut down and will not resume operations until plant inspections are complete, upstream supply and downstream facilities are operational, and electricity service is restored. Eight plants with a total capacity of nearly 3 billion cubic feet per day have been confirmed as operating at normal or reduced levels. There are 39 major natural gas processing plants in the path of Hurricane Ike with a total operating capacity of over 17 billion cubic feet per day.

Also see:
Hurricane Situation Reports from DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability
STEO Hurricane Analysis (pdf)



Hurricane Ike’s Path
as of 0700 EDT, September 13, 2008
maps courtesy of iMapData and Pennwell

Gulf of Mexico Oil & Natural Gas Facts
Energy Information Administration
Gulf of Mexico
Total U.S.
% from
Gulf of Mexico
Oil (million barrels per day)
  Federal Offshore Crude Oil Production (4/08)
  Total Gulf Coast Region Refinery Capacity (as of 1/1/08) 
Natural Gas (billion cubic feet per day as of 2007)
  Federal Offshore Marketed Production
  State Offshore Marketed Production

State Energy Profiles

Hurricane Gustav & Ike
September 13, 2008 Report
September 12, 2008 Report
September 11, 2008 Report
September 10, 2008 Report
September 9, 2008 Report
September 8, 2008 Report
September 5, 2008 Report
September 4, 2008 Report
September 3, 2008 Report
September 2, 2008 Report
September 1, 2008 Report

Previous EIA Hurricane Reports