It has been five years since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in the US south. Now east coast refiners are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Earl, which could touch down this weekend.
Hurricane Earl, a major Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale with winds of 135 miles per hour was about 190 miles (306 km) north-northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico, heading west-northwest at 13 mph as it began an expected trek that would take it north, just east of the US east coast.
Earl is expected to reach Pennsylvania and New Jersey, home to all the US east coast's operating 1.136 million barrels per day of refinery capacity, at 2 a.m. (0600 GMT) on Saturday, and Canada's Atlantic region at 2 a.m. on Sunday.
ConocoPhillips, which operates the 238,000 bpd Bayway refinery in Linden, New Jersey and the 190,000 bpd plant in Trainer, Pennsylvania, Sunoco, which runs the 335,000 bpd Philadelphia and 178,000 bpd Marcus Hook refineries in Pennsylvania and Valero Corp, which operates the 195,000 bpd refinery in Paulsboro, New Jersey, is monitoring the storm.
The U.S. Coast Guard District 5, which covers New Jersey and Pennsylvania, says the impact of Earl was now expected to be less than originally thought as the storm veered further off the coast.
It is however urging mariners to heed warnings as Hurricane Earl is expected to affect the mid-Atlantic region between North Carolina and New Jersey Thursday and Friday.
In the Atlantic Province of Newfoundland staff at North Atlantic Refining's 115,000 bpd refinery are also monitoring the situation.
Imperial Oil, which owns an 82,000 bpd refinery in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, is watching the storm, noting it is too early to identify the hurricanes path.
Husky Energy has no current plans to alter drilling or production at its White Rose/North Amethyst oil fields off Newfoundland, which produce a combined 64,000 barrels per day.
Suncor Energys Terra Nova field, which has been producing about 80,000 bpd off Newfoundland, has no evacuations. The project's floating production, storage and offloading vessel was designed for harsh weather.
On Monday 30 August the storm passed over the Hovensa's giant 500,000 bpd refinery in St. Croix, sparing the refinery. However, all ports in the U.S. Virgin Islands remain closed by order of the U.S. Coast Guard.