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EIA Report on Hurricane Impacts on U.S. Energy 

 As of Monday, September 15, 4:00 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 15, 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 9:00 am EDT (8:00 am CDT), September 15, the Department of Energy reported that there are 14 refineries in Texas and Louisiana that are shut down ahead of Hurricane Ike.  These 14 refineries have a total capacity of nearly 3.6 million barrels per day (about 20 percent of U.S. operable capacity), and represent about 1.3 million barrels per day of gasoline output (about 14 percent of U.S. gasoline demand in September) and over 900,000 barrels per day of distillate fuel output (about 22 percent of U.S. demand in September), based on recent historical data.  At this time, most refineries are reporting limited or no significant damage, but more assessments will be made over the next few days.  So far, since refineries first shut down before Hurricane Gustav, over 27 million barrels of products have not been produced, including nearly 13 million barrels of gasoline and nearly 9 million barrels of distillate fuel. This does not include reduced production from refineries that have reduced runs at various times during Hurricanes Gustav or Ike.  As of September 15, 11 refineries were running at a reduced rate.

As of 1:15 am on September 15, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) had resumed limited operations from its Clovelly storage facility, and tanker offloadings resumed.  As of September 15, 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 is reporting that the average retail price for regular gasoline is up nearly 17 cents per gallon since Thursday, September 11, with 7 states seeing prices at least 30 cents per gallon higher during this same period. 

As of the close of trading on September 15, oil prices remained well below pre-Hurricane Gustav levels.  Compared to prices before Hurricane Gustav, crude oil for October delivery was nearly $20 per barrel lower, while gasoline (RBOB) and heating oil were about 29 cents and 40 cents per gallon lower, respectively. 

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 15, the Minerals Management Service was reporting that over 6.9 billion cubic feet per day (or more than 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 8:00 AM EDT September 15, there have been no reports of any significant damage to natural gas pipelines or production infrastructure. Pipeline personnel are beginning to return to facilities and have started damage assessments. The Independence Hub platform, located about 150 miles offshore Louisiana in Mississippi Canyon reported gas flow of over 600 million cubic feet on September 14, 2008. This platform is the largest producing platform representing approximately 12 percent of the offshore Gulf of Mexico natural gas production. 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.  Sabine Pipe Line, LLC, the operator of the Henry Hub reported that it is currently assessing the status of Henry Hub as well as facilities along the Sabine Mainline. Initial reports indicate that flooding has impacted the system operations.

As of 10:00 am EDT (9:00 am CDT) September 15, 27 natural gas processing plants (with total capacity of over 13.9 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 14, 2008 Report
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