About 1.3 million barrels a day of refining capacity--nearly 8% of the country's total--is offline, the U.S. Department of Energy said Monday, as refiners remove employees in anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaac making landfall within the next few days.
Valero Energy Corp. (VLO), Phillips 66 (PSX) and Marathon Petroleum Corp. ( MPC) have all started taking offline refineries in Louisiana, where Isaac is forecast to land by early Wednesday after strengthening into a hurricane. Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA.LN, RDSA) and Motiva Enterprises LLC have scaled back operations in Louisiana and Alabama by an unspecified amount.The storm is "certainly a refinery issue more than a crude oil issue," said Energy Management Institute analyst Dominick Chirichella.
Issac's track takes it over BP's Deepwater Horizon 2010 Oil Spew. How much Macondo well oil will be stirred up by wave action and be pushed further inland? Will Isaac be Obama's Katrina squared?
Will people harmed by moving BP oil be able to file a claim for damages? BP's November 1, 2012 deadline doesn't allow much time for those impacted to apply.
Also, what happens when dispersed oil, toxic to the Gulf of Mexico food chain, moves around? Any settlement by the Obama White House might wish to take these events and possibilities into account.
Update 8-29-12: First indication of Obama's Katrina Squared came from the Weather Channel website, "Officials expect some tar balls to be dredged up by Isaac. They'll assess the beaches as weather improves."