September 14, 2008 / 3:30 AM / 11 years ago

Texas oil refineries could be down 9 days: U.S. senator

Marathon's refinery is shown after Hurricane Ike hit Texas City, Texas, September 13, 2008. Hurricane Ike slammed the Texas and Louisiana coast on Saturday with ferocious winds and a wall of water that flooded hundreds of miles, cut power to millions and caused billions of dollars in damage. REUTERS/David J. Phillip/Pool

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Texas oil refineries disabled by the massive Hurricane Ike could remain idled for up to nine days and Americans should brace for possible gas shortages, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said on Sunday.

“We are looking at another week or eight or nine days before refineries are up and going, so refined gasoline is going to be in a shortage situation because of the power outages and flooding,” the Texas senator said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“It is going to be felt for the next week, that we have gasoline shortages, so people need to be prepared for that.”

Hutchison said she had received a briefing on Ike’s aftermath from officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency who told her that 40,000 evacuees were spread across Texas and some 2 million people were without electricity.

Ike, a sprawling hurricane estimated to have caused billions of dollars of damage, forced a shutdown of a quarter of U.S. crude oil production as it passed over the heart of the U.S. energy industry.

The biggest disruption in U.S. energy supplies in three years saw work halted at 15 Texas oil refineries as a precaution ahead of the storm.

Reporting by Ross Colvin, Editing by Doina Chiacu, World Desk Washington

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