Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Big kinks in the supply hose

While alternative ports in Houston, Corpus
Christi and Tampa say they're ready to handle
incoming ships, New Orleans ports are critical to
what goes out, industry experts say. New Orleans
traditionally has handled more than half of the
country's grain exports to overseas destinations.
Barges carrying grain, goods and oil remained
halted on the river as government and industry
officials focused on efforts to rescue New
Orleans residents and repair the sodden city's
broken levees.

"It doesn't look like ocean freight will ship
out of that area for some time," Kelley

The whole report.

Major airports in the East and Southeast could
run out of jet fuel as soon as next week if
refinery and pipeline shutdowns aren't resolved
The problem of short supply comes on top of the
airlines' longer-term problem with fuel: price.
Gulf Coast jet fuel fell to $2.27 a gallon
Wednesday, down 3 cents from Tuesday. But the
price is up 20% from where it opened this week
and far higher than the financially struggling
industry can handle.

Also, the hurricane has knocked out several
Mississippi and Alabama pumping stations along
two of the USA's biggest and most critical fuel
pipelines, running from the gulf region to New
Jersey and Virginia.

The rest.

Offshore platforms were damaged by Katrina's
winds and waves, and some had snapped out of
their moorings and were drifting away; 10
refineries, accounting for 10 percent of the
nation's capacity, were shut down and remained
without power Tuesday; strategic pipelines
linking the gulf to key markets in the rest of
the country were still closed because they too
lacked power.

Katrina's impact also highlighted how reliant
U.S. domestic production has become on this
fragile region. The United States imports more
than 10 million barrels a day of crude oil and
more than 1 million barrels a day of gasoline --
60 percent of which comes through Gulf Coast
ports. Nearly half the nation's refining capacity
is located along the coast, from Texas to Alabama.

"We are very dependent on energy resources
produced in the Gulf of Mexico, not just the
Persian Gulf," said Stephen Brown, director of
energy economics at the Federal Reserve Bank of