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Hurricane update: Struck oil refinery restarts

Sept. 1, 2005
Three weeks after Hurricane Rita ripped through Texas, the oil refineries in the region are beginning to process gasoline again. The storm knocked out power and scattered the workforce, yet the restoration is underway. Follow us as the arduous task of picking up the pieces continues.
A Message from ISA President Don Zee...

FELLOW ISA MEMBERS: Are you available to help your automation colleagues who were adversely affected by the recent US Gulf Coast hurricanes? Can you volunteer some of your time and expertise to ease the burden faced by companies in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, or Alabama that are trying to resume their normal activities? Do you have a few hours to be available by email or phone to respond to inquiries or offer advice? Are you available to spend a couple of days on site helping out? Do you have equipment or services that you can donate?

Please contact ISA and let us know what you can do to help our colleagues. We will be contacting companies in these states to see if they are in need of help and will put any requestors in touch with you. You can also send an email to mailto:[email protected] or call 919-549-8411.

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide to our friends and colleagues.

Sincerely, Don Zee - ISA President

A Message from the Editor...
HERE AT CONTROL magazine, ControlGlobal.com, and Putman Media, we want to express our concern and sympathy for the survivors of this years hurricanes. Not only do some of us have immediate family in the region, but also a significant part of our readership lives and works in the affected areas of Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. We hope that things return to normal as soon as possible. In order to help that along, I am urging you all to donate to the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army as much money as you can. I have made a donation, personally, and Putman Media has matched it. Many of you work for companies that will also match charitable donations you make. Visit www.redcross.org and www.salvationarmy.org for specific donation information. Let us all hang together for our friends and colleagues in the process industries along the Gulf Coast.

Walt Boyes, Editor in Chief

THE FOLLOWING NEWS items have been culled from industry sources, business wires and the general news media on how the process industries and the people who work for them have been impacted by the recent Hurricanes that devastated much of the Gulf Coast.

Process Industries and Refinery Plants Restart

This Valero oil refinery in Port Arthur, Texas is producing gasoline again, three weeks after heavy damage by Hurricane Rita.

Struck oil refinery restarts
Oct. 16: NPR.org
Three weeks after Hurricane Rita ripped through Port Arthur, Texas, the Valero oil refinery is making gasoline again. The storm knocked out the refinery's power and scattered its workforce. Two other refineries in the Port Arthur area remain closed, and three in Louisiana, damaged during Katrina, are still shut down. The ongoing shortage of refining capacity is keeping oil prices high.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Chevron refinery back in action
Oct. 15: SFGate.com
Katrina-damaged facility operating at same old rate.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Bayou food processing industry to get going after Katrina
Oct. 10: TimesDaily.com
All of Bayou La Batre's more than 50 seafood processing plants were shut down by Katrina. The plants are struggling to find needed equipment to get open, but owners say there will be no reason to open if there's no seafood to process.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Storm damage to plants hurts Dupont earnings
Hundreds of other chemical plants in the Guld Coast region shut down as a result of the storms, with power outages and disruptions in raw material supplies are expected to last into next year
CLICK HERE to read more.

Floodwaters surround storage tanks Sunday at a refinery near Lake Charles, La. Seven refineries in East Texas and Louisiana remain closed after losing power and sustaining hurricane damage. Source: Oscar Sosa, Bloomberg News

House passes bill to boost construction of refineries

Oct. 7: LATimes.com
Votes are expected in coming weeks on whether to relax a decades-old federal ban on new offshore drilling for oil and natural gas and to open a portion of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy exploration.CLICK HERE to read more.Seven refineries in Rita path still closed
Sept. 28: TulsaWorld.com
Processing plants in Port Arthur, Beaumont and Lake Charles may take longer to resume operations because of flooding damage and loss of power.CLICK HERE to read more.
Refineries East of Houston may be down for a month
Sept. 27: Bloomberg.com
Oil refineries near Port Arthur, Texas, and Lake Charles, Louisiana, hit head-on by Hurricane Rita may be shut for a month, heightening the threat of shortages in an industry that has yet to recover from Hurricane Katrina.CLICK HERE to read more.

Nalco resumed production last weekend in Texas and Louisianna following a short power outage due to Hurrican Rita.

Nalco plants returning to production
Sept. 26: BusinessWire.com
Nalco Holding Company, a provider of integrated water treatment and process improvement services, chemicals and equipment programs for industrial and institutional applications, reports that manufacturing facilities closed in advance of Hurricane Rita have all resumed operations and are returning to full production as employees return to work.
CLICK HERE to read more. 

Storm spares bulk of U.S. refineries 
Sept. 25: InternationalHeraldTribune.com
After a weekend of nervous uncertainty, the vast U.S. energy complex lying along the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast escaped the latest storm bruised but apparently not seriously damaged.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Some signs of damage to oil refineries in wake of Hurricane Rita
Sept. 24: Canada.com
Hurricane Rita smacked a key region for U.S. oil refining with less force than feared Saturday, although there were some early signs of damage.
CLICK HERE to read more.

TECO Katrina update
Last week we published most of a letter from Bruce Thompson (provide link here), who is the President of Thompson Equipment, one of the largest and oldest rep/distributor companies in our industry, and which happens to be headquartered in New Orleans. Here's another e-mail update from Thompson.CLICK HERE to read more.CERT Hurricane Control System Advice White Paper
Sept. 23: USCert.gov
US-CERT in collaboration with the Control Systems Security Center (CSSC) has released a Hurricane Katrina Control System Assistance Informational paper to provide owner/operators assistance in securely and safely restarting control systems following a major disaster such as Hurricane Katrina.CLICK HERE to view this document.MILLIONS SCRAMBLE FOR SHELTER

With Hurricane Rita's Category 4 winds and rains nearing landfall, traffic moved slowly north on Interstate 45 from Houston yesterday. (David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe)


Oil companies start evacuating
Sept. 20: Finance24.com
Oil companies began pulling workers back out of the Gulf of Mexico on Monday as Tropical Storm Rita threatened the Gulf Coast production and refining assets spared by Hurricane Katrina just three weeks ago.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Rita and Katrina have shut 23% of U.S. oil refining capacity
Sept. 22: NewYorkTimes.com
Rita hastened evacuations from offshore natural gas and crude oil production facilities, decreasing oil production from the Gulf of Mexico, which produces about a third of U.S. oil.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Signs of life at Chevron's hurricane-damaged refinery
Sept. 20: ForexTV.com
Chevron Corp. has reopened one of the fuel berths at its Pascagoula, Miss., refining plant and is now receive gasoline imports at the hurricane-damaged facility, With full electrical power and industrial water service restored, the company expects to start up one of the its crude oil processing lines by mid-October, bringing the refinery back to full operation by mid-November.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Process Industries Take Stock

U.S. refineries brace for another hit; This time from Rita
Sept. 20: FinancialTimes.com
As Hurricane Rita sweeps its way toward the oil and gas production center of the Gulf Coast, the industry braces itself once again from another blow while still reeling from Hurricane Katrina.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Hurricane damage could affect RFID tag supply
Sept. 20: IndustrialControlDesignLine.com
Air Products and Chemicals has shut down its industrial gas complex in New Orleans, which could affect RFID tag supplies. The company produces hydrogen at its process plant, which is used in the manufacuring of silicon wafers for higher-voltage semiconductors.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Hurricane Katrina inflicted massive damage to oil platforms in the Gulf.

Oil platforms in Gulf defenseless against Katrina's fury
Sept. 19: ABCNews.com
All along the Mississippi River below New Orleans, it is evident how Katrina has hobbled the oil industry. Storage tanks have been knocked off their foundations, and oil refineries sit idle — at least four will be inoperable for months.CLICK HERE to read more.Industry reps and distributors are feeling the punch
Many refineries and chemical plants are up and working, but some are finding that things are not as good as first they thought.CLICK HERE to read more.

In wake of Katrina, oil companies are forced to re-examine Gulf Coast operations

A fishing boat sits on a containment levee in front of an oil storage tank at the Murphy Oil Refinery in St. Bernard, La. Saturday Sept. 17, 2005. The oil refinery experienced some oil leaks due to Hurricane Katrina.

Sept. 18: New York TimesAs the petroleum ndustry confronts the challenge of recovering as quickly as possible from Katrina, officials are just beginning to assess the bigger, longer-range questions.CLICK HERE to read more.Refiners defer maintenance to keep oil flowing
Sept. 18: MSN.com
U.S. refiners are putting off scheduled maintenance to their plants in response to a White House call to maximise petrol and diesel production following Hurricane Katrina.CLICK HERE to read more.New Orleans environmental "nightmare" slows Gulf Coast recovery
Sept. 16: Bloomberg.com
The massive environmental cleanup needed in flood-ravaged New Orleans, a city awash in the toxic residue of its ruined industrial facilities, is slowing the progress and increasing the cost of the Gulf Coast's recovery. The flooded areas include more than 60 chemical plants, oil refineries and petroleum storage facilities, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency records. The full extent of the damage won't come into complete focus until the water that swamped 80 percent of the city is pumped out, a process the Army Corps of Engineers says may take until mid-October.CLICK HERE to read more.

Exxon Mobil managers battled lack of fuel to keep refinery running

Sept. 14: Houston Chronicle
As Hurricane Katrina muscled ashore in Louisiana two weeks ago, the nation's second-largest refinery here came desperately close to a forced shutdown that would have deepened America's energy crisis. The damage to oil and gas production and refining because of the storm has focused attention on the concentration of America's refining capacity in the Gulf region, leading one industry veteran to say . . . "There needs to be a public policy debate about why everything is on the Gulf Coast," Pursell said. "The answer is, nobody else wants it. But we are making a lot of our energy capacity vulnerable to major hurricanes. If America is going to build new refineries, maybe one should be built in Boston."CLICK HERE to read more. Blogging From Ground Zero

SOUND OFF! at ControlGlobal.com

CONTROL Editor in Chief Walt Boyes blogs about Hurricane Katrina and its effect on the process industries.

From the Hurricane Katrina department...This came in from Jon Worstell, a member of the Chemical Processing editorial advisory board, who works at Shell Norco in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, responding to a question of how we, as automation media, should be telling this story.CLICK HERE to read more.

More Hurricane Katrina news...
CONTROL's Senior Technical Editor, Dan Hebert, reports.
CLICK HERE to read more.

More blogging from Ground Zero
Direct NIC, the Internet registrar company, is located in downtown New Orleans. One of their employees continues to blog as his world comes apart around him. This ain't process automation, but it sure is awesome technology.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Live Camera feed from Ground Zero 
Check out this real-time live camera feed of the clean up in Downtown New Orleans.
CLICK HERE to view live feed.

More Industry News

Katrina aid from Siemens
Siemens will donate more than $1 million to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The company is also sending power, medical, water and telecommunications equipment.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Omron pledges $300,000 for victims of Hurricane Katrina
Omron Corp. and Omron Management Center of America (Schaumburg, IL) have pledged a total of $300,000 to support victims and aid reconstruction in the areas recently devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
CLICK HERE to read more.

Hardy Instruments and its sister company, Dynamic Instruments, managed to raise almost $4000 in employee donations and company matching funds in less than 24 hours.

Hardy Instruments collects $300,000 for Storm AidHardyInstruments.com
Hardy Instruments and KOGO 600AM, one of Clear Channel's eleven radio stations in San Diego, teamed up on September 7, 2005 to collect "a ton of change" for Storm Aid. Clear Channel's radio stations asked San Diegans to collect all of their spare change and to donate their change, dollar bills and checks to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina with the goal of raising at least "a ton of cash" during the one-day event. Hardy Instruments provided a giant industrial-size (6 foot by 6 foot) scale on site to measure the weight of the donations as they came in. Over 14 hours, Clear Channel San Diego collected an estimated $275,000, and over 7200 pounds of coins. Hardy Instruments and its sister company, Dynamic Instruments, managed to raise almost $4000 in employee donations and company matching funds in less than 24 hours. Hardy Instruments has been providing customers with process control solutions for over 85 years and is best known for its innovative technology. Hardy, an ISO 9001-certified manufacturer, is based in San Diego, California. For more information about Hardy Instruments, please visit www.hardyinstruments.com, or call 1-800 821-5831.Supply chain issues from Katrina
CLICK HERE to read more.

American Society of Safety Engineers offers disaster safety checklist

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the ASSE has released a safety checklist to assist businesses before, during and after a disaster.CLICK HERE to read more.
Learn from hurricanes past
Your vendors may or may not be as heroic as theirs, but here's a good article about what happened with motors when Hurricane Georges flooded Chevron's Pascagoula refinery in 1998.CLICK HERE to view a .pdf version of this article.

Hurrican Katrina images
The imagery posted on this site is of the Gulf coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. Click on the map to continue zooming in. (Imagery was acquired by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Remote Sensing Division).
CLICK HERE to view the images.

Workers at the Valero Energy refinery displaced by Katrina are housed in tent cities and sleep on cots at work.

Oil patch musters its scattered work forceMSNBC.comDozens of workers at Valero Energy’s St. Charles refinery in Norco, La. were displaced from their homes by the storm. Valero Energy Corp. mechanic Ronald Lewis, displaced by Katrina, now calls the company's St. Charles refinery home, where he sleeps on a cot in the plant's office building. His wife and two daughters, along with other family members, are scattered across Georgia and Mississippi.CLICK HERE to read more.No major damage to underwater oil pipelines
Katrina, which blasted through the Gulf of Mexico before hitting Louisiana on Aug. 29, destroyed 46 “mostly low producing” energy platforms and extensively damaged 20 others.CLICK HERE to read more.

Katrina poses extreme challenges for power engineers
This article allows us the opportunity to find out what it's like right now for the power engineers at the generating plants and electric power grid utilities in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast.
CLICK HERE to read more.

FAQ for IEEE members affected by Hurricane Katrina

AKC sets up online for pet lovers who want to help with Hurricane relief
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has set up a unique online volunteer exchange, matching pet lovers willing to house abandoned pets from Hurricane Katrina. Here volunteers from all across the country are listing resources such as open kennels, fenced back yards, barns and stables for horses and even free transportation to help with families who cannot keep their pets with them at this time. Call 1-888-736-3787.
CLICK HERE for more information.

An oil refinery in Codin, Ala. is seen partially submerged.

Oil refineries update123Jump.comHurricane Katrina caused widespread damage to the nation's oil production and refining capabilities.CLICK HERE to read more.Picking up the pieces from Katrina: What lies ahead
Wharton.eduWharton professors assess the impact of what is clearly the costliest natural disaster ever to strike the US.CLICK HERE to read more.Technology responds to Hurricane KatrinaTechnologyReview.com
Another interesting article with a different perspective on Hurricane Katrina, this time from MIT’s Technology Review.CLICK HERE to read more.

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