Hurricane Delta's winds topple gear, disrupt U.S. oil refineries
From Erwin Seba
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Hurricane Delta has shut down electricity and equipment and closed oil export ports at oil refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast as the destructive winds and storm surge were far from its center.
Nearly 700,000 homes and businesses in three Gulf Coast states were without power on Saturday after Delta landed overnight as a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 161 km / h near the town of Creole, Louisiana.
Delta's violent winds tore roofs off houses, disrupted electricity and disrupted power operations as far as Port Arthur, Texas, 40 miles west of Delta's Landing.
Total SA's 225,500 bpd refinery lost power, Valero Energy Corp's 335,000 bpd plant lost a cooling tower, and Motiva Enterprises closed a small unit at their 607,000 bpd refinery amid the storm.
Total quickly made efforts to get the oil processing plant back on stream.
Total, Valero and Motiva did not respond to requests for comment.
The Royal Dutch Shell, Geismar and Norco, Louisiana oil and chemical plants oil convention were operating normally, a spokesman said.
Three other refineries in Louisiana near the storm trail had been closed six weeks ago for maintenance work or damage from a major hurricane. These plants are operated by Citgo Petroleum and Phillips 66.
Cheniere Energy Inc, which operates a natural gas processing plant on the Texas-Louisiana border, evaluated facilities on Saturday. The export facility for liquefied natural gas (LNG) Sabine Pass remains online and the employees are safe, said a spokeswoman.
Oil and petrochemical ports from Beaumont, Texas to Lake Charles, Louisiana were closed to merchant ships before the storm and remained closed on Saturday. Houston and Galveston were open and functioning normally, US Coast Guard data showed.
The hurricane cut most of US offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and 62% of natural gas, the Home Office reported. Employees from more than 280 production platforms and drilling rigs were evacuated before the storm.
It usually takes several days for power generators to inspect the facilities for damage, bring workers back and resume offshore production after a storm.
However, Laura hit Louisiana in late August as a Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds and a storm surge that damaged the operations of onshore gas processing and the offshore pipeline.
(This story has been rewritten to remove extra word "from" in the main paragraph.)
(Reporting by Erwin Seba; writing and additional reporting by Gary McWilliams; editing by Marguerita Choy)
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