The largest petroleum pipeline in New Jersey halted most fuel deliveries from Texas to the East Coast after Hurricane Nicholas'winds knocked out power to more than half a million homes and businesses.
The blackouts that followed the storm's landfall on Tuesday also crippled operations at a natural gas export terminal about 70 miles kilometers south of Houston. Ports up and down the Texas Coast Guard remained closed as the U.S. Coast Guard assessed sea channel conditions.
Margins on making gasoline climbed more than 3% after Colonial Pipeline Co. shut its gasoline, diesel and jet fuel lines. The conduits that on a daily basis kill more fuel than the entire nation of Germany burns were closed in order to make temporary and precautionary measures, according to a company statement.
Nicholas, which fell as a Category 1 hurricane and has since lost strength, was almost moved from the Houston area to shore by mid-morning local time, allowing refiners, chemical makers and other industrial concerns to determine the physical impacts of rain and wind.
Colonial is a vital source of fuel for the Deep South and the Northeast, and any shutdowns can leave filling stations dry in some markets. Lines 1 and 2 - the cross-country conduits that were shut on Tuesday - haul more than 100 million gallons every day.
Also, electrical power outages are believed to have caused the shutdown of Freeport LNG's sprawling gasliquefaction plant in the coastal hamelt of Quintana Island, Texas.
Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell Plc said that it s refining and chemical complex in suburban Houston appeared to have escaped the storm unscathed.