Colonial to pump fuel through Port Arthur facility at reduced rates after Harvey

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Colonial Pipeline Co, the biggest U.S. fuel system, said on Friday it expects the full restart of its crucial supply point at Port Arthur, Texas by the end of the month after Hurricane Harvey dumped heavy rains and caused flooding.

In the meantime, Colonial is considering allowing shipments of fuel through the Port Arthur pumping facility at a reduced rate, starting September 15th.

The Port Arthur region is home to Motiva Enterprises’ 603,000 barrel per day (bpd) Port Arthur refinery, the country’s biggest. Other refiners that operate in the area include Valero Energy Corp, which has a 335,000 bpd refinery, and Total SA, which has a 225,500 bpd plant.

Gulf Coast facilities are slowly recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, which hammered Louisiana and Texas for several days, shutting key infrastructure in the heart of the U.S. oil and natural gas industry.

Colonial’s outage means that even if these refineries restart, flows to the southeast and ultimately, the East Coast regions supplied by the conduit are unlikely to immediately return to normal, traders said.

Each refinery typically has its own connection but eventually merge into the main line, traders said.

The pipeline hauls more than 3 million barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel every day to the populous U.S. northeast.

Motiva was preparing on Friday for the large crude distillation unit (CDU) to resume production, sources said on Friday. Motiva said it expected a partial restart of the Port Arthur refinery over the weekend.

Estimates for restoring the refinery’s full production are between four and eight weeks, source have told Reuters.

Colonial said on Tuesday its main gasoline line had resumed operations from Pasadena, Texas, and Houston after Harvey.

Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in New York; Editing by David Gregorio