Gustav and the Louisana Offshore Oil Port -- What do we need to know?

Hurricane Gustav has brushed by the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), where 1.2 million barrels of oil per day is offloaded from supertankers. Here is the recent trajectory of Gustav superimposed on a map of the LOOP area, including Port Fourchon, also of critical importance to the production of oil from the Gulf of Mexico.

The LOOP is an offshore crude oil offloading facility consisting of a central Marine Terminal Platform surrounded by several Single Point Moorings (SPMs) which are tethered to the ocean floor. The platform and moorings are located in the circled region in the lower right corner in the above image. The eye of Gustav passed just over seven miles to the southwest of this area. The MSNBC Hurricane Tracker site has that Gustav was just between category 3 and category 2 status (110-115 mph) as it made the slight jog to the west.

The Marine Terminal (yellow structure in the above image) coordinates vessel traffic in the vicinity of the LOOP, maintaining safe distances between tankers. For oil offloading, tankers are tethered to one of the moorings and flexible hoses bring oil from the tankers and pass it into one of several sea-floor pipelines spanning the 20 mile distance to the Fourchon Booster Station located onshore.

From there, it is piped north to the Clovelly Dome Storage Terminal (45 million barrel capacity) from where it is dispersed to refineries.

The LOOP was not severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina three years ago:

LOOP sustained "no apparent catastrophic damage" and should be able to quickly resume offloading tankers once power is restored to its onshore pipeline systems, a spokesman says.

He tells Platts that utility Entergy (ETR) was working to restore power to the onshore systems, which must be in operation before the offshore terminal can begin unloading crude from tankers. The offshore terminal, 20 miles south of the Louisiana coast, has its own power source.

"Power is our biggest need... It shouldn't take us terribly long to get back once we get power," he says. LOOP could resume offloading vessels once power is restored "probably within a matter of hours."

As for the damage to the LOOP from Gus, we will have to wait and see. Operations were shut down as of the morning of Aug. 31. For the longer term, there are plans to complement the LOOP with a 1.8 million BPD terminal located 36 miles offshore from Freeport, TX:

Thanks! Looks like an interesting place.

You say that LOOP has its own power source. What is that? I know that platforms run on electricity generated by the natural gas they pump. Are there nearby pipelines that LOOP gets its natural gas from, or does it burn diesel? Natural gas is usually a whole lot less expensive, if it is available.


It's great to see it and get some real perspective on what we are talking about.

That tidbit came from the BW article. I cannot determine if it normally runs on its own power source or if it just has backup generators. Some reports indicate that, after Katrina, the LOOP ran at reduced capacity for a few days due to less electricity available at the Booster Station.

Here is a listing of the current infrastructure outage due to Gustav, from Reuters:

Sept 1 (Reuters) - Hurricane Gustav, the first big threatto U.S. Gulf of Mexico energy and port infrastructure sinceKatrina and Rita in 2005, made landfall west of New OrleansMonday morning. [nN01292385]
The following outlines the impact on the energy sector:
*96.3 percent of U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil output shut
*82.3 percent of Gulf of Mexico natgas output shut
*27 percent of U.S. refining affected, 11 percent shut, 16percent at reduced rates.
*433,600 Entergy (ETR.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) customers lose power
*No damage assessments yet
*US waives gasoline standards in parts of Texas andLouisiana, ready to release emergency crude
*96.3 percent of U.S. Gulf of Mexico's 1.3 million barrels
per day crude output shut as of Sunday, according to
U.S. government.
*82.3 percent of the Gulf's 7.4 billion cubic feet per day
natural gas output shut as of Sunday.
*Ten refineries with capacity of 1.9 million bpd shut
*Eight refineries with capacity of 2.8 million bpd at
reduced rates
*ExxonMobil 193,000 bpd Chalmette, Louisiana.
*Murphy (MUR.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) 120,000 bpd Meraux, Louisiana
*ConocoPhillips (COP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) 280,000 bpd Lake Charles and
195,000 bpd Alliance, Louisiana, refineries
*Motiva 236,000 bpd Norco, Louisiana; 235,000 bpd
Convent, Louisiana refinery on standby.
*Marathon (MRO.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) 250,000 bpd Garyville, Louisiana.
*Calcasieu shut its 80,000 bpd Lake Charles, Louisiana
*Alon (ALJ.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) 80,000 bpd Krotz Springs, Louisiana
*Valero (VLO.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) 250,000 bpd St. Charles, Louisiana
*ExxonMobil 503,000 bpd Baton Rouge, Louisiana; 567,000
bpd Baytown, Texas; 349,000 bpd Beaumont, Texas
*Citgo 430,000 bpd Lake Charles, Louisiana
*Valero 325,000 bpd Port Arthur, Texas; 130,000 bpd
Houston, Texas, 245,000 bpd Texas City, Texas
*Motiva 285,000 bpd Port Arthur, Texas
*Entergy (ETR.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) says 433,600 of 1.9 million customerswithout power, 101,500 in evacuated areas, 332,600 in southeastand southwest Louisiana.
*Entergy's Waterford 3 nuclear plant shut Sunday night;River Bend nuclear plant powered down to 75 percent due tolower electricity demand.
*Louisiana Offshore Oil Port stopped unloading ships
Saturday and shut flows from storage Sunday
*Houston Ship Channel closed to inbound traffic at midnight
Sunday (0500 Monday GMT), all outbounders already gone
*Mississippi River traffic at New Orleans halted inbound at
noon (1700 GMT) Saturday, outbound as of 6 p.m. CDT (2300
*Traffic at Lake Charles, Louisiana, halted Sunday
*Traffic at Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, halted Sunday
*Gulf Intracoastal Waterway closed Mississippi to Florida
*Explorer Pipeline says entire 700,000 bpd products
pipeline, Gulf Coast to Chicago, available Monday night
*El Paso's (EP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said its Tennessee and Southern Natural
gas pipelines offshore throughput cuts total 2.5
*TEPPCO's (TPP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) 340,000 bpd products line from Texas to
Northeast cuts run rates, Beaumont distillate line down.
*Henry Hub natural gas trading hub shut Sunday.
*Enbridge (ENB.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) (EEP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) stopped taking natural gas
production Saturday on systems with 6.7 Bcfd capacity.
(Reporting by Bruce Nichols, Erwin Seba, Chris Kelly andMarcy Nicholson; Editing by Richard Valdmanis)

Nice piece! Here's a Joules-esque piece I found on the SPR: Eyeballing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. DOE has drawn the shades on details on it.

I've heard local news reports of ca. 750k customers without power.

Assume the refineries may not have power either. Entergy stated this was the worse blackout in its 95 year history:

Estimates of 500,000 - 900,000 homes without power so far.

There was a news report that some of the power stations themselves may have suffered damage, but no further details.

The SPR piece is interesting. It shows maps and Google Earth images of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The same link also has a write-up about it.

Speaking of the SPR: O&G Journal: Gustav idles 12% of US refining capacity

Nineteen of the 22 major gas pipelines serving the gulf had declared force majeure, idling operations an all offshore segments of their systems.

The Sabine Pipeline gas system declared force majeure because of mandatory evacuations in Vermilion Parish, location of all of its receipt and delivery points and of the Henry Hub interconnection, the delivery point for gas-futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Also closed were the Strategic Petroleum Reserve facilities at Bayou Choctaw and West Hackberry, La., and at Big Hill, Tex. The Bryan Mound, Tex., SPR facility remained in operation.

The DOE office noted that 28 major gas processing plants lie in the path of the storm and were shutting down because of mandatory evacuations in Louisiana and shut-down of gathering lines.

Never having seen the SRP, I went looking and found pictures of it on Google and here, I believe is its location.

Article w/picture

Lat/Lon 28.917518,-95.381284,-95.381284&ie...


I find it difficult to believe that there is only one storage location. It would not be very strategic to put all the eggs on one basket, would it?

Check out the hurricane thread yesterday, which links to a site where the SPR locations are listed and have pictures - I believe there are 4 of them.

A fifth SPR (smaller than the others) is under construction in Mississippi.

In addition, there is a 2 million barrel heating oil reserve in the Northeast (2 or 3 locations).


Why have they put all 4/5 in the south east near the hurricane zone? Surely it would make sense to have something on the west coast? (but not in an earthquake zone:-)

The entire West Coast is an earthquake zone.

Well, if you could find a salt dome on the West Coast, the DOE might be interested.
Citgo asks for oil from emergency US oil reserve
09.02.08, 6:06 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Citgo Petroleum Corp, owned by the Venezuelan state oil company, is the only oil company so far to ask for emergency crude oil from the U.S. emergency petroleum stockpile in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav, the Department of Energy said Tuesday.

Citgo asked for 250,000 barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for its refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The refinery's crude oil supply was disrupted when the Calacasieu Ship channel was closed. The channel was reopened Tuesday but was restricted to ships with a draft of 16 feet or less.

"The request is currently being reviewed," an energy department spokeswoman said. "Once the request is approved they will go into negotiations to deliver and ultimately replace the oil."

Requiring oil to distributed 97% of food is not very strategic either. Even if the SPR was spread across 100 sites.


No major visible damage to Port Fourchon (LOOP):


Louisiana Port May Resume Some Oil Deliveries Within a Week

By Christopher Martin
Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Louisiana's Port Fourchon, partially flooded and cut off from roads by Hurricane Gustav, may be ready to service up to half of U.S. offshore rigs and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico within a week.
``We had some considerable damage from the hurricane,'' Ted Falgout, director of Port Fourchon, said today in an interview. ``We've now got crews on the ground and should be able to help service rigs within a week.''
More than 60 companies that use the port were sending teams in today to assess damage to their own equipment, Falgout said. He estimates that the port, using backup generators until utility power is restored, should be able to handle as much as 50 percent of normal traffic in a week