Hurricane Matthew Threatens Petroleum Terminals in Bahamas

(Bloomberg) - Hurricane Matthew is threatening to shut in about 33 million barrels of oil storage in the Bahamas and disrupt Caribbean shipping this week before heading northwest toward the U.S. East Coast.

Statoil ASA plans to evacuate workers later this week at its 6.7 million-barrel South Riding Point terminal in Freeport, Peter Symons, a Houston-based spokesman, said in an e-mail. The facility is on Grand Bahama Island, which was placed under a hurricane warning Tuesday, meaning that hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours. Buckeye Partners LP also operates a 26.2 million-barrel terminal on the island. Officials with the Houston company didn’t immediately respond to e-mails and calls for comment.

The two terminals “are significant for storage and are used for blending and transshipment of crude and petroleum products,” Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, a Houston-based consulting company, said in a telephone interview.

Matthew, a major hurricane with 145 mile (230 kilometer) per hour winds, is a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. The center of the storm will pass near or over southwestern Haiti on Tuesday morning and southeastern and central Bahamas by evening and Wednesday, the center said in an advisory published at 5 a.m. New York on Tuesday. As much as 40 inches of rain could fall in parts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, while Cuba and Jamaica could get up to 20 inches.

Hurricane warnings are in place for southeastern and northwestern Bahamas, Haiti and parts of Cuba. Tropical storm or hurricane watches are likely for portions of the Florida peninsula and Florida Keys later this morning, according to the NHC.

There are two petroleum terminals in Jamaica, one operated by Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. and Petroleum Corp. of Jamaica, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Neither company responded to e-mails or calls seeking comment.

As the storm heads north, it may also affect ship traffic, delaying the delivery of gasoline into New York Harbor and southeastern U.S. markets including Florida, Lipow said.

- With assistance from Lucia Kassai. To contact the reporter on this story: Sheela Tobben in New York at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Margot Habiby at James Herron, Amanda Jordan


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