The U.S. granted Citgo permission to pull 250,000 barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve because of the company’s inability to secure crude in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav, The Associated Press reported.
Venezuela’s government-controlled Citgo Petroleum Corp. said supplies to its refinery in Lake Charles, La., were cut off when the Calcasieu Ship Channel closed, the news service reported.
The U.S. Energy Department granted the request late Tuesday, so far the only request for fuel from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
The reserve can hold as much as 727 million barrels of oil in salt caverns along the Coast of Mexico. The Calcasieu Ship Channel opened Tuesday, but larger ships were not allowed to pass through.
As expected, energy companies that operate on the Gulf Coast were discovering Tuesday that damage to their platforms, rigs and other equipment caused by Hurricane Gustav was less extensive than that from Katrina and Rita three years ago, The AP reported.
The U.S. Gulf Coast is home to nearly half the nation’s refining capacity, while offshore, the Gulf accounts for about 25% of domestic oil production and 15% of natural gas output.