October 8, 2017 / 4:34 PM / a year ago

U.S. Gulf refiners, ports assess facilities after Nate

HOUSTON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Oil ports and some refineries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were assessing their facilities on Sunday to decide when they could reopen after Hurricane Nate made landfall on Saturday night near the mouth of the Mississippi river.

The storm, which weakened on Sunday to a tropical depression and was moving inland toward the Tennessee Valley and Central Appalachian Mountains, killed 30 people in Central America before speeding across the central U.S. Gulf of Mexico, where more than 90 percent of oil output remained shut on Saturday.

Phillips 66's 247,000-barrel-per day Alliance refinery and Valero's 125,000 bpd Meraux refinery, both in Louisiana, were reported undamaged after the passage of Nate, according to sources familiar with their operations.

Alliance may restart some units on Sunday but may not resume production until midweek because of the limited availability of crude oil at the U.S. Gulf, the sources said.

A Phillips 66 spokesman said the firm had no update on the status of the refinery on Sunday morning. Valero did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nate forced the closure of more than triple the volume of Gulf offshore crude production than Hurricane Harvey did from late August to early September, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. More than 1.6 million bpd of oil and 2.48 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas output remained shut on Saturday after more than 300 offshore platforms were evacuated.

The status of PBF Energy Inc's Chalmette refinery in Louisiana and Chevron Corp's Pascagoula refinery in Mississippi is unclear. The companies did not respond to requests for comment on their operations.

As of Sunday morning, the ports of New Orleans in Louisiana and Mobile in Alabama remained closed to inbound and outbound vessel traffic, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

"Post-storm assessments are planned for today to decide further action," a Coast Guard spokeswoman said.

About 18 oil tankers were sheltered along the Mississippi River near New Orleans, half of them loaded with crude or refined products, as port authorities established a safety zone until Sunday night to protect vessels from hazards from severe weather, according to Reuters vessel tracking data.

In Mobile, Alabama, two tankers were near the port, according to the Reuters data. (Reporting by Marianna Parraga and Erwin Seba; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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