Isaac threatens Gulf Coast oil refineries

Tropical Storm Isaac is heading toward the U.S. Gulf Coast, where much of the nation’s gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and heating oil is produced.

Several refiners in the region are shutting down operations in anticipation of high winds and heavy rains that may knock out power. If refineries lose power suddenly, it can take several days to restart them. If refiners conduct what is known as an orderly shutdown, operations can be restarted as soon as the source of power is assured.

Refineries with the combined capacity to refine 1 million barrels of oil per day are in the process of shutting down. The U.S. consumes about 19 million barrels of oil products per day. Here are the refineries in the potential path of the storm:

Shutting down:

Phillips 66, Belle Chasse, La., 247,000 barrels per day

Valero Energy Corp., Norco, La., 205,000 barrels per day

ExxonMobil Corp./Chalmette, Chalmette, La., 192,500 barrels per day

Valero Energy Corp., Meraux, La., 125,000 barrels per day

Operating at reduced rates:

Marathon Petroleum Corp, Garyville, La., 490,000 barrels per day

Royal Dutch Shell/Motiva, Convent, La. 235,000 barrels per day

Royal Dutch Shell/Motiva, Norco, La., 233,500 barrels per day

Remaining open:

Chevron Corp., Pascagoula, Miss., 330,000 barrels per day

SOURCES: Oil Price Information Service, companies

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