(Daily Caller News Foundation) A gas pipeline supplying parts of New York and Washington, D.C. with energy is shutting down as refineries in the Gulf of Mexico go offline amid flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey.
The Colonial Pipeline, which stretches up and down the northeast coast, supplies about 100 million gallons of refined gas a day to New York City and other cities all along the coast. The line’s closure is expected to put a crimp on energy production and ultimately increase gas prices.
Colonial was operating at dramatically reduced rates because of Harvey-related interruptions in Texas, but the outright closure of the 1,500-mile-long pipeline will likely raise more concerns about energy shortages. Colonial expects the project to go quiet Thursday.
Harvey will almost certainly cause reverberations in the energy markets beyond those felt in Houston, which has received the bulk of the Tropical Storm’s power. Analysts argue the flooding will cause pipeline disruptions all over the country.
“Expressions of unharmed infrastructure may prove to be meaningless — there is no way to get people to run much of this asset base, regardless of its condition,” Paul Sankey, a top analyst at Wolfe Research, told reporters Thursday about the prospects of getting refined oil from refineries in Houston to ports across the U.S.
New York is heavily dependent on gas from pipelines like Colonial, and consumes the fourth most amount of natural gas in the country behind only Texas and California, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned fracking June 2015, claiming the technique to extract natural gas from the ground used too much water and could potentially contaminate the state’s drinking source. It also currently gets less than 5 percent of its electricity from wind and solar, according to the EIA.
Colonial claims there is not enough supply being produced, and the company doesn’t have enough fuel in the line to keep the facility open. Thirteen of the 26 refineries that feed the line are currently offline.
“Once Colonial is able to ensure that its facilities are safe to operate and refiners in Lake Charles and points east have the ability to move product to Colonial, our system will resume operations,” the pipeline firm said Thursday.
Harvey has hamstringed to the county’s oil industry. Energy producers ExxonMobil and Shell told reporters Sunday that the storm will force offline refineries in and around the Texas area. Shell was forced to shut down the Deer Park refinery in southeastern Houston, which supplies more than 340,000 barrels of oil per day.
Exxon, meanwhile, also temporarily shuttered a massive plant in Baytown, Texas, with a capacity of more than 560,000 barrels per day, according to reports from CNBC. The Houston Ship Channel is the busiest in America and remains closed by the storm. Oil production is also taking a hit.
The Energy Department announced Thursday morning that the agency would pump 500,000 barrels of oil from the U.S. strategic reserve.
DOE’s release will be delivered to a Phillips 66 refinery in Louisiana, according to a Thursday press statement from the agency. Harvey, which began as a Category 4 hurricane but was downgraded shortly after hitting Texas, has not affected that refinery’s output.
The country’s reserve was established in the 1970s during the oil embargo and currently contains 679 million barrels of oil.