US turns to European gasoline imports to fill Hurricane Ida gaps

Imports and Exports | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Hurricane Ida has left the US looking to Europe and the Baltic nations for its refined petroleum products.


The US is being forced to import high levels of gasoline and related blending components from Europe and the Baltic states to fill the production gap caused by Hurricane Ida.

Vortexa data seen by Reuters suggested imports could hit around half a million tonnes this week as the effects of the poor weather continue to curb production at refineries along the US Gulf of Mexico.

This is the highest level since May and comes after imports from these nations already hit 426,000 tonnes in the week ending September 5th 2021.

Hurricane Ida made landfall on August 29th 2021 and has been one of the most costly in terms of damage since the back-to-back tropical storms Katrina and Rita in 2005.

According to Offshore Engineer, strong winds cut most offshore oil and gas production for more than a week, as well as damaging platforms and support facilities onshore. More than three-quarters of the Gulf region's offshore oil production remained closed at the start of this week as clean-up operations continued.

With power cut to millions of properties across Louisiana and Mississippi and extensive flooding recorded, it is estimated that 17.5 million barrels of oil have been lost to the market.

Meanwhile, Department of Energy figures quoted by Reuters state that around a million barrels per day are being lost from five refineries in Louisiana alone, which usually account for six per cent of the US's operable refining capacity.

Although some refineries in Baton Rouge and New Orleans have managed to restart, they will not reach their full production rates for several days.

It comes after the US Energy Information Administration announced total gasoline stocks had declined 2.24 million barrels in the week ending August 20th 2021, SP Global reported.

This left stocks 3.2 per cent behind the five-year average and nearly 13 per cent lower than the five-year average for this particular time of year. The decline was mostly concentrated on the east coast.

With domestic production damaged, this could leave the US more heavily reliant than usual on European and Baltic imports for some time.