Refinery damage less than feared

HOUSTON, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The petroleum refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas and western Louisiana appear to have escaped major damage from Hurricane Rita.

"It looks like we may have dodged some of the bullet in terms of the impact," John Felmy, chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute, told the New York Times. "It certainly is better than if it had hit some of the bigger refining centers."


Sixteen refineries shut down in advance of the hurricane, almost half of them in the neighborhood of Port Arthur, Texas, and Lake Charles, La., where the eye of the storm came ashore. Restarting them could take as long as a week and even longer if they were damaged by high winds or water.

Valero Energy Corp. found severe wind damage to its refinery in Port Arthur, MarketWatch reported. The company said repairs could take two weeks to a month.

The Port Arthur area enjoyed lucky timing, the Times said. When Rita came ashore, refineries were on the left of the storm's eye, so winds were lower than they might have been.

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