May 13 (Reuters) - Governor Bobby Jindal warned Louisiana residents on Friday evening that the Morganza Spillway on the swollen Mississippi River would be opened within 24 hours to divert floodwaters and protect New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, along with nearby refineries from flooding.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it would open the Morganza when flow through the Red River Landing reaches 1.5 million cubic feet. The spillway, about 45 miles (72 km) northwest of Baton Rouge, will divert flood waters to the Atchafalaya River basin.[ID:nN13194756]
Exxon Mobil Corp's (XOM.N) 504,500 barrel-per-day (bpd) Baton Rouge refinery, the nation's second largest, cut production to 450,000 bpd due to tight crude supplies, according to sources familiar with refinery operations. Exxon may cut production to 400,000 bpd.[ID:nN13139412]
Failure to open the Morganza Spillway would be a disaster for the Exxon Baton Rouge refinery, the sources said.
Valero Energy Corp's (VLO.N) 185,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) and Motiva Enterprises' (RDSa.L) 234,700-bpd refineries in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, west of New Orleans, will be flooded if the Morganza is not opened, the St. Charles Parish emergency preparedness director said on Wednesday. [ID:nN11256696]
Opening the spillway will disrupt operations at Alon USA Energy's ALJ.N 80,000-bpd Krotz Springs, Louisiana, refinery.
An Alon spokesman said on Friday that the plant was operating normally as crews continued to build a second levee to prevent Atchafalaya River waters from flooding the refinery within 10 to 14 days of the Morganza opening. The new levee will supplement existing levees. [ID:WEN3099]
Scores of U.S. heartland rivers from the Dakotas to Ohio have flooded following a snowy winter and heavy spring rains, feeding near-record crests on the lower Mississippi River.
U.S. Midwest flooding continued to shut Ohio River terminals, limited barge movements and threatened to disrupt refinery operations along the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.
There are 10 refineries located along the Mississippi River which can process 2.4 million barrels per day of oil, or 13.7 percent of the country's refining capacity.
REFINERIES AT RISK FROM FLOODS (in bpd)
*Alon USA Energy ALJ.N Krotz Springs, Louisiana : 80,000
*Chalmette Refining (XOM.N) Chalmette, Louisiana: 192,500
*ConocoPhillips (COP.N) Belle Chasse, Louisiana: 247,000
*Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) Baton Rouge, Louisiana: 504,500
*Marathon Oil Corp (MRO.N) Garyville, Louisiana: 436,000
*Motiva Enterprises (RDSa.L) Convent, Louisiana: 235,000
*Motiva Enterprises (RDSa.L) Norco, Louisiana: 234,700
*Murphy Oil Corp (MUR.N) Meraux, Louisiana: 120,000
*Valero Energy Corp (VLO.N) Memphis, Tennessee: 180,000
*Valero Energy Corp (VLO.N) St. Charles, Louisiana 185,000
NUCLEAR FACILITIES AT RISK FROM FLOODS
* Entergy's (ETR.N) 1,176-megawatt Waterford nuclear plant in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana.
* Entergy's 978-megawatt River Bend nuclear plant in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana.
* Entergy's 1,268-megawatt Grand Gulf nuclear station in Clairborne County, Mississippi.
Magellan Midstream Partners (MMP.N) said it discontinued operations at its 2.8 million-barrel storage terminal in Marrero, Louisiana, close to New Orleans, after it finished loading barges on Friday.
Nearly 20 percent of barge terminals that the U.S. Coast Guard monitors on the Ohio River remained closed on Thursday. The Smithland Lock and Dam at mile marker 918.5 on the river remains closed, obstructing barge traffic both up and downstream. [ID:nN09291512]
Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) Pipeline Co has shut two 12-inch (30.5-cm) crude line segments of the North Line system north of Baton Rouge and one 16-inch segment of the Southwest line across the river from Baton Rouge. The lines were filled with water and will remain so until flooding ends. [ID:nWEN3209]
The tanker Zaliv Baikal turned back from going to a dock in Baton Rouge because its captain didn't think the vessel had enough clearance beneath the I-10 Bridge over the Mississippi at Baton Rouge.
Berths at Exxon's docks in Baton Rouge were flooding on Thursday, which may make docking tankers difficult in the coming days, according to sources familiar with refinery operations. Exxon said the refinery continues to operate normally.
Barge traffic is moving along the Mississippi River with some restrictions and no closures. Barges were running near Baton Rouge, but facing difficult river conditions.
Mississippi River restrictions include length of barge (no greater than 600 feet), energy requirement (greater than 250 horsepower), speed (3 miles/hour) and prior notification requests before navigation starts. To that end, barge traffic is open in places like St. Louis and Memphis with restrictions.
OIL AND GAS PRODUCTION AT RISK IF MORGANZA SPILLWAY OPENED:
(Source: Jefferies & Co and La. Dept. of Nat. Resources)
Operator Barrels oil equivalent/day
BP (BP.L) America Production Co 10,703
Petroquest PQ.N Energy LLC 8,757
Apache Corp (APA.N) 4,986
ConocoPhillips (COP.N) Inc 2,661
Stone Energy SGY.N Corp 2,232
Chevron (CVX.N) USA Inc 1,467
Dune DUNR.OB Operating Co 1,407
Swift Energy SFY.N Optg LLC 1,241 (Reporting by Erwin Seba, Kristen Hays, Selam Gebrekidan, Janet McGurty, Bruce Nichols; Editing by Dale Hudson and Lisa Shumaker)