"Fully 30% of all US refining capacity is in the target zone. Perhaps most importantly, almost every refinery capable of producing diesel fuel is in immediate danger. This promises (especially in the wake of Katrina) a devastating and irreplaceable shortage of the diesel fuel needed to power America’s harvest of grain and food crops this month and next. Without diesel fuel to power the harvesters and combines, crops may be left to rot in the ground presenting a double whammy: food shortages (with prices that may treble or quadruple) and export defaults negatively impacting the financial markets and trade deficit.
Even before Rita strikes, fully 30% of all domestic natural gas production is shut in. The US cannot import natural gas from overseas like it can both crude and refined products. Repair work on infrastructure damaged by Katrina has been halted as crews have been evacuated. The remaining half of Gulf energy production undamaged by Katrina is directly in Rita’s crosshairs. Natural gas prices are up over 110% and home heating oil futures are up almost 70% before Rita even gets here. Since Katrina, US domestic oil production is down one million barrels per day (from 5Mbpd to 4 Mbpd). We were producing 9 Mbpd less than a decade ago."
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