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Caribbean, Florida prep for Irma approach: Update

05 Sep 2017 22:05 (+01:00 GMT)
Caribbean, Florida prep for Irma approach: Update

Includes updates on Florida market impact, preparations.

Houston, 5 September (Argus) — Florida gasoline markets are seeing some shortages following lower supplies from the storm-ravaged western US Gulf coast as another system approaches the state from the southeast.

Florida gets virtually all of its motor fuel by tanker or barge from the Gulf coast, northeast US or other countries. Following Hurricane Harvey's travels through Gulf coast refining centers near Corpus Christi and Houston, Texas, last week fuel production dropped, tightening previously flush supplies, causing prices to rise.

"All of our ports and roads are fully operational and we do not anticipate any shortages until we find out more regarding Irma's exact path," James Miller of the Florida Retail Federation said today regarding Hurricane Irma, a category 5 storm with 180mph winds that is steaming toward the state through the Caribbean.

If it strikes Florida as many models suggest, it likely would happen on 10 September. The National Hurricane Center expects it to remain a major storm.

NuStar Energy shut operations yesterday at its crude and refined products terminal in St Eustatius in the Caribbean as Hurricane Irma approached. The terminal has a storage capacity of 13mn bl in 56 tanks.

The Florida trade group has been coordinating with government officials and convenience store operators to ensure supplies can get into storm-damaged regions as quickly as possible once the threat of Irma passes, Miller said.

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