Hurricane Ida: No power, no water, no gasoline; more Than 90% of Oil and Gas Production in the Gulf of Mexico

Hurricane Ida: No power, no water, no gasoline; more Than 90% of Oil and Gas Production in the Gulf of Mexico

I have been paying scant attention to the damage wrought by Hurricane Ida

Ida’s sweltering aftermath: No power, no water, no gasoline

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Dewayne Pellegrin a bowling alley mechanic, cleans up the heavily damaged Bowl South of Louisiana Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in Houma, La.NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of Louisianans sweltered in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida on Tuesday with no electricity, no tap water, precious little gasoline and no clear idea of when things might improve.

Long lines that wrapped around the block formed at the few gas stations that had fuel and generator power to pump it. People cleared rotting food out of refrigerators. Neighbors shared generators and borrowed buckets of swimming pool water to bathe or to flush toilets.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us and no one is under the illusion that this is going to be a short process,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said as the cleanup and rebuilding began across the soggy region in the oppressive late-summer heat.

New Orleans officials announced seven places around the city where people could get a meal and sit in air conditioning. The city was also using 70 transit buses as cooling sites and will have drive-thru food, water and ice distribution locations set up on Wednesday, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said. Edwards said state officials also were working to set up distribution locations in other areas.

Cantrell ordered a nighttime curfew Tuesday, calling it an effort to prevent crime after Hurricane Ida devastated the power system and left the city in darkness. Police Chief Shaun Ferguson said there had been some arrests for stealing.

The mayor also said she expects the main power company Entergy to be able to provide some electricity to the city by Wednesday evening, but stressed that doesn’t mean a quick citywide restoration. Entergy was looking at two options to “begin powering critical infrastructure in the area such as hospitals, nursing homes and first responders,” the company said in a news release.

Cantrell acknowledged frustration in the days ahead.

“We know it’s hot. We know we do not have any power, and that continues to be a priority,” she told a news conference.

More than 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi — including all of New Orleans — were left without power when Ida slammed the electric grid on Sunday with its 150 mph (240 kph) winds, toppling a major transmission tower and knocking out thousands of miles of lines and hundreds of substations.

An estimated 25,000-plus utility workers labored to restore electricity, but officials said it could take weeks.

With water treatment plants overwhelmed by floodwaters or crippled by power outages, some places were also facing shortages of drinking water. About 441,000 people in 17 parishes had no water, and an additional 319,000 were under boil-water advisories, federal officials said.

The number of deaths climbed to at least four in Louisiana and Mississippi, including two people killed Monday night when seven vehicles plunged into a 20-foot-deep (6-meter-deep) hole near Lucedale, Mississippi, where a highway had collapsed after torrential rains.

Among the crash victims was Kent Brown, a “well-liked,” 49-year-old father of two, his brother Keith Brown said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. Keith Brown said his brother was in construction but had been out of work for a while. He didn’t know where his brother was headed when the crash happened.

Edwards said he expects the death toll to rise.

In Slidell, crews searched for a 71-year-old man who was attacked by an alligator that tore off his arm as he walked through Ida’s floodwaters. His wife pulled him to the steps of the home and paddled away to get help, but when she returned, he was gone, authorities said.

On Grand Isle, the barrier island that bore the full force of Ida’s winds, Police Chief Scooter Resweber said he was “amazed that no one was killed or even seriously injured.”

About half of the properties on the island of about 1,400 people were heavily damaged or destroyed, and the main roadway was nearly completely covered in sand brought in from the tidal surge.

“I’ve ridden out other hurricanes: Hurricane Isaac, Katrina, Gustav, Ike. … This is the worst,” Resweber said.

In New Orleans, drivers lined up for roughly a quarter-mile, waiting to get into a Costco that was one of the few spots in the city with gasoline. At other gas stations, motorists occasionally pulled up to the pumps, saw the handles covered in plastic bags and drove off.

Renell Debose spent a week suffering in the New Orleans Superdome after 2005′s Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,800 people and left the city nearly uninhabitable. She said she is willing to give it a few days without electricity, but no more than that.

“I love my city. I’m built for this. But I can’t make it without any air conditioning,” she said.

Michael Pinkrah used his dwindling fuel to find food. He cradled his 3-week-old son in the back seat of an SUV and his 2-year-old daughter played in the front seat as his wife stood in a long line in the sweltering heat to get into one of the few grocery stores open in the city.

Pinkrah said he and his wife thought about evacuating but couldn’t find a hotel room. They found out about the open store through social media. But even that link was tenuous.

“We can’t charge our electronic devices to keep in contact with people. And without that, all of the communication just fails,” he said.

In hard-hit Houma, the dismal reality of life without air conditioning, refrigeration or other more basic supplies began to sink in.

“Our desperate need right now is tarps, gasoline for generators, food, water,” pastor Chad Ducote said. He said a church group from Mississippi arrived with food and supplies, and neighbors came to his pool to scoop up buckets of water.

“The people down here are just doing what they can. They don’t have anything,” he said.

Adding to the misery was the steamy weather. A heat advisory was issued for New Orleans and the rest of the region, with forecasters saying the combination of high temperatures and humidity could make it feel like 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius) on Tuesday and 106 on Wednesday.

Cynthia Andrews couldn’t go back to her New Orleans home if she wanted to. She was in a wheelchair, tethered by a power cord to the generator system running the elevators and hallway lights at the Le Meridien hotel.

When the power went out Sunday, the machine that helps Andrews breathe after a lung collapse in 2018 stopped working. The hotel let her stay in the lobby, giving her a cot after she spent nearly a whole night in her wheelchair.

“It was so scary, but as long as this thing keeps running, I’ll be OK,” she said..

Hurricane Ida Shuts Down More Than 90% of Oil and Gas Production in the Gulf of Mexico

Experts say the oil refineries that have been shut down account for 9% of the country’s total.

As if reversing the course of the Mississippi River, forcing hospitals to hunker down with patients that couldn’t be moved, and nearly shutting off the power and internet in New Orleans wasn’t enough, Hurricane Ida has also disrupted oil and gas production.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement on Sunday said that 95.6% of current oil production and 93.7% of the gas production in the Gulf of Mexico had been shut down in response to Hurricane Ida, which made landfall as a powerful Category 4 storm in Louisiana. Offshore Gulf operators had to evacuate personnel due to Ida and as of Sunday had moved workers off 288 production platforms, or 51.4% of manned platforms in the area, and 11 rigs, or 100% structures in the area.

In addition, the BSEE reported that 10 dynamically positioned rigs—which are not moored to the seafloor and can change locations in a relatively short period of time—had moved out of the storm’s projected path. They represent 66.7% of the total dynamically positioned rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

A hurricane making landfall in this area is the one of the worst things that could happen to the oil industry, experts told CNN, and could impact the pipelines that ferry fuel to the East Coast. Andy Lipow, president of the Houston-based consulting firm Lipow Oil Associates, told the outlet that six refineries in New Orleans are currently shut down. These refineries—which include PBF, Phillips, Shell, Marathon, and two Valero refineries—produce 1.7 million barrels per day, or 9% of the country’s total.

However, Lipow said that there were still three refineries belonging to Exxon, Placid, and Kratz Springs in the Baton Rouge area operating at what appeared to be reduced capacity. These refineries are responsible for roughly 700,000 barrels a day, or 3.5% of U.S. daily consumption. Although these refineries are still operating, some expect oil and gas prices to increase in the storm’s aftermath.

“It’s now a waiting game to assess whatever wind and flooding damage will be caused as the hurricane passes through the area,” Lipow said.

Ida’s fury hits U.S. oil production, gasoline supplies

Energy companies on Monday were beginning a days-long evaluation of facilities hit by Hurricane Ida as widespread power outages and flooding onshore presented major hurdles to restarting oil and gas processing plants.

Hurricane Ida knocked out at least 94% of the offshore Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production and caused “catastrophic” damage to Louisiana’s grid.

The loss of power could last three weeks, utilities officials said, slowing efforts to repair and restart energy facilities, which could also take at least two weeks to fully resume operations. read more

Power outages from a hurricane last year left oil processing plants in Lake Charles, Louisiana, idled for up to five weeks and cost owners millions of dollars in lost production.

“You can’t simply flip the switch” and resume production of a refinery, said Robert Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho Securities, describing restarts as complicated and dangerous. “My observation is two to four weeks” before they can be completed, he said.

SWAMPED ONSHORE

Hundreds of oil production platforms remained evacuated and nearly 1.1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi were without power on Monday afternoon. read more Refineries in Norco and Belle Chasse, Louisiana, remained swamped a day after the storm passed, images showed.

Entergy Corp (ETR.N), the largest power utility in Louisiana, warned there was “catastrophic” damage to transmission lines. One tower that provides power collapsed at the height of the storm and its power lines fell into the Mississippi River, the utility said.

Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) halted operations at its 520,000 barrel per day (bpd) Baton Rouge oil processing and chemical complex due to lack of power and raw materials, a spokesperson said. Phillips 66 (PSX.N) will conduct a post-storm assessment at a refinery in a hard-hit area of Louisiana “when it is safe to do so,” said spokesman Bernardo Fallas.

The outages could help push retail gasoline prices up 5 to 15 cents a gallon with processing halted, tracking firm GasBuddy said. The extent of price increases will depend on how quickly electric power and a major fuel pipeline can resume operations, said petroleum analyst Patrick De Haan.

Colonial Pipeline Co (COLPI.UL), the largest U.S. fuel pipeline network, hopes to start pumping gasoline and diesel on closed lines from Houston to Greensboro, North Carolina, on Monday evening, it said. Its network supplies nearly half the gasoline used along the U.S. East Coast and an extended May shutdown led to fuel shortages.

AERIAL OFFSHORE SURVEYS

Oil companies began surveying offshore platforms for damages. Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) planned a flyover on Monday of its properties and BP Plc (BP.L), BHP (BHP.AX), Chevron Corp (CVX.N) and Exxon Mobil also said they were assessing offshore facilities.

“It will take some days to get a clear picture of possible impact,” said Ola Morten Aanestad, a spokesperson for Equinor ASA (EQNR.OL), which evacuated its Titan platform and halted production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

About 1.72 million bpd of oil production and 2.01 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas output remained offline in the U.S. side of the Gulf of Mexico following evacuations at 288 platforms.

Nearly a dozen commercial shipping ports from New Orleans to Pascagoula, Mississippi, remained closed on Monday. The closures included Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), the largest privately owned crude export and import terminal in the United States.

Ida made a landfall near Port Fourchon, the land base for LOOP. Officials for the oil-export port were unavailable to comment on Monday. read more

Direct Hit to Key Export Elevators, 22 Barges on the Loose: Logistical Nightmare Unfolds from Hurricane Ida

Right at harvest time.

A damaged electric line is pictured after Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, in Kenner, Louisiana, U.S. Aug. 30, 2021.
A damaged electric line is pictured after Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, in Kenner, Louisiana, U.S. Aug. 30, 2021.
(REUTERS/Marco Bello/File Photo)

Hurricane Ida’s destructive winds are wreaking havoc on a vital export shipping vein, as grain elevators and barge traffics continue to be tangled from the impacts of the hurricane this week. 

Monday, reports surfaced that Hurricane Ida damaged a Louisiana grain export elevator owned by Cargill Inc. It was said to have “sustained significant damage.” Ken Erickson, senior vice president of agribusiness with IHS market, focuses on transportation and infrastructure. He says as the destruction continues to surface, it’s apparent that the U.S. export program could run into some serious delays as the area works to recovery from the impacts of Hurricane Ida. 

“We’ve got a couple of them that are going to be down for a while, especially with Cargill having just lost some of its elevation to the ships, they’ve got capability to load two ships there,” says Erikson on AgriTalk. “There are others that are going to be without power for awhile, and power is the big story down there with two to four weeks, if not longer, of no power just across the entire region.”

The storm has disrupted grain and soybean shipments from the Gulf Coast, which accounts for about 60% of U.S. exports, at a time when global supplies are tight and demand is strong from China.

Images of the damaged Cargill terminal, with a twisted and partially collapsed grain conveyor system, circulated on Twitter and were shared among grain traders and barge shippers.

“This area in SE Louisiana is still facing significant personal safety concerns and power outages, so we are just able to start assessing the storm’s impact on the river system. We don’t currently have a timeframe for resuming operations,” Cargill said in a statement

Hurricane Ida damages Louisiana grain terminal, disrupts exports

Hurricane Ida damaged a grain export elevator owned by global grain trader Cargill Inc, and rival shipper CHS Inc warned on Monday its grain facility may lack power for weeks after the storm tore though the busiest U.S. grains port.

Cargill said its Reserve, Louisiana, terminal, one of two the company operates along the Mississippi River near the Gulf of Mexico, “sustained significant damage” when the storm roared ashore.

Rival crop exporters Bunge Ltd and Archer-Daniels-Midland Co said they were working to assess damage to their area export facilities.

The storm has disrupted grain and soybean shipments from the Gulf Coast, which accounts for about 60% of U.S. exports, at a time when global supplies are tight and demand is strong from China.

Images of the damaged Cargill terminal, with a twisted and partially collapsed grain conveyor system, circulated on Twitter and were shared among grain traders and barge shippers.

“This area in SE Louisiana is still facing significant personal safety concerns and power outages, so we are just able to start assessing the storm’s impact on the river system. We don’t currently have a timeframe for resuming operations,” Cargill said in a statement.

CHS is working to divert export shipments scheduled through the next month to its terminal in Kalama, Washington, as the hurricane knocked out a transmission line that powers its Myrtle Grove facility south of New Orleans, the company said.

“Best estimates as to when power will be restored at the terminal are in the two to four week range,” said John Griffith, executive vice president at CHS Global Grain & Processing.

Cash premiums for grain delivered by barge to Gulf terminals for export fell sharply on Monday as traders feared a prolonged recovery from the storm.

A preliminary assessment of Bunge’s Destrehan, Louisiana, export terminal and oilseed processing plant found no significant structural damage, spokeswoman Deb Seidel said.

Bunge had hoped to restart operations on Tuesday after shutting down on Saturday ahead of the storm. But power to the facility remains out with no estimate for when it may be restored, Seidel said.

Archer-Daniels-Midland will assess damage to four New Orleans grain elevators and port operations it closed over the weekend ahead of the hurricane, spokeswoman Jackie Anderson said.

“ADM has a vast transportation network and we are making alternate shipping arrangements as necessary to meet customers’ needs as we manage through this difficult situation,” she said in an email. 

Key U.S. Crop Export Elevator Damaged in Hurricane Ida

A grain elevator damaged by Hurricane Ida in Reserve, Louisiana is responsible for nearly 9% of America’s bulk seaborne exports of corn, soybeans and wheat so far in 2021, according to Bloomberg’s analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

USDA shipments show a total of 6.45 million tons of agricultural product loaded at the Cargill terminal, with 5.3 million tons of corn topping the list. The primary recipient of crops through the elevator this year has been China, receiving 47% of its output including 2.5 million tons of corn and 485,000 tons of soybeans.

The last two vessels visiting the elevator have remained same place, with one possibly aground, Bloomberg’s vessel data showed. 

The UBC Tampico, a general cargo ship, left the grain terminal on Aug. 27 and went into anchorage before reporting its status as aground near LaPlace, Louisiana on Aug. 30, according to AIS info. The Golden L, a larger bulk carrier, also left on Aug. 27, but appeared to secure a spot where it was able to remain anchored. 

relates to Key U.S. Crop Export Elevator Damaged in Hurricane Ida
UBC Tampico path after it leaves the Cargill terminal, on the left, on Aug. 27.

At least three other bulk carriers on the lower Mississippi, the Atlantic Maya, Derby, and Nord Pollux were showing their last status as aground as well. The Derby’s current position is on the opposite bank of the river across from UBC Tampico. NOAA data showed the storm’s path directly over the Cargill and neighboring ADM elevators just slightly upriver from the two vessels in LaPlace.

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