DOE Says Hurricane Ida Fuel Disruption Minimal but Prices May Still Rise Vehicles drive past a petrol chemical plant near Highway 61 in Norco, Louisiana, on Aug. 30, 2021 after Hurricane Ida made landfall. (Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images)
By Charles Kim | Monday, 30 August 2021 05:22 PM
Despite Hurricane Ida shutting down 96% of oil production and 94% of natural gas in the federally administered areas in the Gulf of Mexico, energy officials don’t believe the storm will cause any widespread shortages.
“The refinery and offshore platform shut-ins are not anticipated to cause any immediate supply issues,” the United States Department of Energy said in an update on the storm Monday. “For the week ending on Aug. 20, Gulf Coast stocks of gasoline and distillate were 3% and 5% above the seasonal five-year average. Gulf Coast stocks of crude oil were essentially in line with the five-year average in the Gulf Coast.”
Hurricane Ida smashed into the Gulf Coast as a Category 4 storm, making landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, around 1 p.m. Sunday.
The heavy rain, wind, and storm surge, tore roofs from buildings, brought down trees, and flooded neighborhoods, cutting off power to 1 million in Louisiana alone. According to the agency.
Several pipelines and at least nine refineries in the state, as well as the ports of New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Gramercy, and Morgan City, closed as a precautionary measure before the storm hit and are expected to reopen as soon as conditions allow.
The refineries account for 13% of total U.S. refining capacity, according to the agency.
While officials don’t anticipate a wide-scale shortage from the storm, there may be some localized retail disruptions in the storm’s impact area.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during Monday’s briefing that the White House is monitoring the oil and natural gas situation in the gulf following the storm.
“(Hurricane related fuel shortages) is something we are monitoring closely,” Psaki said Monday. “We have not seen, to date, that as an issue.”
She said the federal government has a range of “tools” it can use, including waivers from the Environmental Protection Agency to maintain the level of transportation fuels available during natural disasters like Ida.
“GasBuddyGuy” Patrick De Haan posted on Twitter that the best odds for the price of gas increasing due to the storm is between 5-10 cents per gallon.
“Keeping in mind the storm hasn't cleared the area and storm assessments could change this, I still feel pretty confident in these figures,” he said in his post on Twitter Sunday. “Again, Hurricane Ida isn't likely to lead to drastic price increases, but some increases are likely over the next (approximately) two weeks.”