Hurricane Rita–Oil Refinery Plant Closures Will Likely Mean Fuel Shortages

I’m glad that most of the SurvivalBlog readers stocked up on liquid fuels long ago. Here are some details on the wholesale oil supply reductions. This comes from an oil industry insider newsletter report (dated 22 September):


Recent forecasts place Hurricane Rita directly over Galveston [now OBE], threatening the Houston area, home to almost 25 percent of U.S. refining capacity. OPIS estimates that by noon on Friday (9/23), refinery closures could impact as much as 3.8 million bbl/d of refining capacity. Current confirmed closures will affect approximately 2.7 million bbl/d of refining capacity.
Information is still being gathered on other potential affects of the storm, such as disruption of tanker shipments of crude oil and refined product barges.
The following is the latest information from OPIS on refinery closures:

Flint Hills, Corpus Christi, 305,000 bbl/d
ExxonMobil, Baytown, 580,000 bbl/d
BP, Texas City, 460,000 bbl/d
ConocoPhillips, Sweeny, 228,000 bbl/d
Marathon, Texas City, 76,000 bbl/d (anticipated)

Valero, Texas City, 215,000 bbl/d
Valero, Houston, 85,000 bbl/d
Astra, Pasadena, 103,000 bbl/d
Lyondell-Citgo, 283,000 bbl/d
Shell Deer Park, 340,000 bbl/d

Teppco is shutting down its Seaway crude pipeline, Baytown terminal operations and four pipelines from Texas City, Houston, Red Bluff and Baytown.
Dixie – Mont Belvieu facility shut down.
Port of Houston – closed as of 5 p.m. today.

ExxonMobil, Chalmette, LA,190,000 bbl/d
ConocoPhillips, Belle Chasse, LA, 260,000 bbl/d
Murphy, Meraux, LA, 125,000 bbl/d
Chevron, Pascagoula, Miss., 350,000 bbl/d
There is no way to estimate how long refineries will be offline due to Hurricane Rita. Fortunately some of the refineries are on higher ground than those affected by Hurricane Katrina, although storm surges of 20 feet resulting from Rita are currently predicted. Also, electricity outages could hinder the refineries’ ability to get back online, as well as personnel issues. Some 800,000 bbl/d have been lost due to Hurricane Katrina.

Offshore companies are continuing to evacuate facilities in Gulf of Mexico. MMS reports 469 platforms and 69 rigs have been evacuated. This represents 1,097,357 bbl/d of crude oil, which is 73.16 percent of daily Gulf Coast oil production.

Areas served by these three major pipelines:
Colonial/Plantation (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania)
Teppco (Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio)
Explorer (Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois)

Letter Re: Multi-Fuel Carburetor Kits

Excellent blog, sir. I read it every day. I’ve also read Patriots several times, I’m on my second copy.
I live in Illinois. (I know, I know, I’m working on it.) I wouldn’t even ask how low Illinois was rated, if it were me doing the rating it would be near the bottom for many reasons; gun laws, high taxes, corrupt politicians, terrible roads, and overcrowding anywhere near Chicago. High insurance rates of all kinds, high crime rate, and the weather stinks. There is a pretty long growing season, more than some of the western states you discuss, and there used to be plenty of work here. That’s not the case anymore, due to many reasons you’re no doubt aware of from your research. On to the main reason for my post: In regards to the dual fuel letter from The Army Aviator, these kits are still available from several dealers. I just bought and installed a tri-fuel kit for my 5 KW genny. I can now run it on gasoline, natural gas, and propane–either the large tanks or 20 pound tanks. Total cost was about $220 shipped. The conversion took about 1 hour, but could probably be done a little quicker. I took my time and made sure I didn’t miss anything. The conversion can be done with gasoline in the tank, no problem. I tried it on propane from a 20 pound tank, and it works great! The genny runs smoother on propane than it did on gasoline. And of course propane stores much safer and longer [than gasoline]. I bought my kit from U. S. Carburetion, but there are several other suppliers. Google or other search engines will find them.

From David in Israel Re: Disease and Disease Vectors

The flu of 1918 killed more people than World War I. The Black Death (bubonic plague) was a leading cause of death during the middle ages. The ban on DDT and the resultant rebound of malaria has caused more death than Stalin and Mao and the Austrian corporal (may their memory and name be erased). History is filled with the tragedy caused by intentional and unintentional microorganism-caused deaths. Plans need to be made for dealing with disease vectors that can carry these microbes. Rodents can carry plague and many other pathogens, cats are good but may carry the pathogen from their prey into your home. Traps and poisons may get domestic animals or children. Mosquitoes may carry malaria and West Nile. Acquire mosquito netting, repellents, and bug lights (low power versions are available even battery powered.) People infected with any type of malaria other than P falciparum most likely can be treated with chloroquine (Aralen) or mefloquine (Lariam). Most people can tolerate these oral drugs. Or you may initially be treated with quinidine (Quinalan, Quinidex, Cardioquin, Duraquin), a related heart medication that also kills malarial parasites. P falciparum drug resistance to chloroquine is widespread, especially in Southeast Asia, South America, and East Africa (the latter spreading westward). Those infected with P falciparum malaria, or if the doctor does not know the specific type of malaria, are likely to be treated with IV quinine (Formula Q). Quinine bitters were initially popularized as a treatment for malaria last century, now quinine has become a prescription only medication in the last few years. The quinine levels in modern tonic water is below therapeutic values. Malaria was a scourge in both the southern and western USA. Wetlands laws have allowed mosquito breeding areas to remain but mass planting of eucalyptus can dry up some swamps.

Fleas, ticks, and lice carry Lyme disease, Bubonic plague and other diseases as well as opening the skin to infection. Pet dips, soaps, and repellents may be considered but watch for reactions or allergies. Massive consumption of garlic has been known to repel these parasites as well as mosquitoes in many humans and animals. Reductions in infrastructure and public health work from natural or man made disasters could cause a return of pestilence to first world nations. Be prepared!

JWR Adds: “David” is the pseudonym of SurvivalBlog’s volunteer correspondent in Israel. He is a former EMT, now a rabbinical student. Living in that troubled land gives him a a particularly insightful perspective. I greatly appreciate his posts!

Letter Re: “Patriots” and Retreat Locales in the Eastern States?

Jim, I am enjoying your blog site a lot. I am a big fan of your work, and I especially enjoyed your novel, Patriots. I appreciate the advantages of the western states when the balloon goes up; but some of your readers are going to be tied to the populated east coast and mid-western states. Please take some time after your western state series to give some advice to those of us who will (or must) stay for family, as well as other reasons in the less advantageous areas of the country. Sincerely, – C.G. in Ohio

JWR Replies: I’m glad that you enjoyed my novel. Most folks find it both exciting to read and a useful reference to keep around. I will do my best to cover retreat regions in eastern states, but as a westerner I will be depending on the expertise of SurvivalBlog readers. Please e-mail me your suggestions!

Letter From Dave Martin Re: Communications Infrastructure Rebuilding in Louisiana

Hi Jim,
Your novel Patriots was revisited in New Orleans! I thought I would fill you and your blog in on the Blessings For Obedience ministries mission to Mississippi, and Louisiana this past week, It all started with a question to Kelly Coleman our president like… “Are we going to do anything for the stricken area?” Kelly and Tina were fishing in central Texas at the time, and having a nice time I shouldn’t have disturbed them with such a question. Sorry Tina. After about twelve hours of communications with the FCC, the head of the FCC decided it would be a good thing to issue an emergency FM Broadcast license for New Orleans. I think the FCC deserves a big kudos for what they did, and the heroic work to approve the license in such a short period of time, this is definitely un heard of in normal times, Our call sign is (KS5XAE) It took one week from the day of the approval to get funding, plane tickets, tools and equipment. Canada paid for and shipped 800 Gal-Com go-ye radios for 107.9 FM and a 250 watt transmitter. We filled the bill with a mixer, mikes, CD, and tape player, antennas coax[ial cable], et cetera.
Next was to get a location to install the station, FEMA tried to help us get a location on top of some big hotel in New Orleans but it didn’t work out, after much prayer after we dropped off food and supplies at the Salvation Army distribution point in Biloxi MS and getting a real education of the death and destruction. Destruction I might add would not be equaled by a hundred tactical nukes or more, I watched the Salvation Army do most of the serious work, and the “Red Curse” get a lot of their credit. I have no love for the Red Curse, in case you hadn’t noticed.
We traveled west on I-10 toward New Orleans, only to have The Lord open every door. When we got to the major check point our little convoy went right through without even being asked what we were doing. We drove over a huge bridge down into the big lake area and Slidell, such devastation I have never seen, even in Viet Nam. Those poor people, rich and poor alike lost everything. there was the smell of decaying bodies all along the way. Going over the causeway bridge, the power lines were normally about 80 feet above the lake water. About three places I saw where boats had caught the power wire and pulled it into the water, just holding on by something on the boat. There must have been either flying boats, or really high water. At the end of the bridge thing we came into a village probably fishing and arts crafts place buildings, (totalllllly destrooooyed), stench of body decay all the way through. Then further from the lake, was less and less destruction. We needed directions so we stopped at a girls’ school where the Army had taken up residence, they told us how to get over a huge bridge on I-10 into New Orleans so off we went over the river and through the (woods) flooded, but not as much destruction we were on the elevated I-10 all the way through New Orleans no people cars, etc just some police, army and a few semi trucks bring supplies. You could drive any lane you wanted without using a blinker light. It was really weird. I listened to AM radio in the way into the area, and the N.O. station being what it is was cursing the military, FEMA, and everyone who was there to help, I got sick of their tripe, and tuned to a station in Gretna, where we wound up going to a pier and huge warehouse. That radio station was praising their Mayor, police chief Lawson, the Army, etc, and all the helpers who came in. What a change, we got to the pier, and who was the first person I met (the Mayor). He seemed like a person who really cared for his community and its people. He ask what we were going to do, and I told him we were going to give him an emergency FM broadcast station. Which we did, we linked up with FRIEND SHIPS ministries, and the ship HOPE where we installed the first FCC licensed emergency FM broadcast station ever licensed in the United States. God sent a young man named Lynnie to volunteer to run the station, and God couldn’t have made a better match, He had not only the right loving, caring spirit, but some fine skills, He had never been on radio before. God don’t make no junk. The station plays Christian music, to sooth and comfort, news, location announcements, “help me find” messages, and praise for the people, the military, police, etc. The police and military are being fed at the same location, along with a huge distribution center being located there. God owns Gretna, and the signal is covering 22 miles across the river to N.O., and 14 miles into the Gretna.
We saw a lot of sad things, but most of all we walked with our LORD JESUS CHRIST through the valley of the shadow of death, and feared NO evil. HE was with us. and with His eye guided us every step of the way, Oh ! The ship HOPE is just across the river from the IWO JIMA where the rescue HQ is. I might add that a MARS message email I got passed on to me from the Captain, reflects his close walk and dependence on our LORD JESUS too. God is taking back something that satan took.
My report to the LORD is: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, LORD! I am convinced that He only sends people who will accomplish the mission and when he provides all the funds and opens every door in one week, it is very obvious that His hand is on you an will be with you, We did carry one weapon. It was never even opened up. But then the Lord said the night he was betrayed that the disciples only need two for twelve men, who never had to use them either. Just the devil needs a little convincing now and then, He the Lord sent in the ARMY and police to do that.
Some other observations: I noticed while on my mission trip to install the Radio Station in N.O. were that generators dried up almost immediately, even from stores in the Dallas/Fort Worth area were we combined our team before deployment. We did find a 5.5 KW at Sears for half the price of Home Depot, and lots of gas cans at smaller hardware stores, around the area. On the way down the middle of Mississippi on the inter state, about a third of the piney trees had blown over or were broken in half, making them harder to cut down, the road for about 150 miles had been cleared in 4 days to allow convoys to get south, there was a good reason it took a while to get help into the area, the road was being cleared by every logger, chain saw handler in the country, what a massive undertaking. You sure don’t hear much praise of them and the power crews restoring power, so people can get electricity back , and re-start commerce.
The American people are resilient and strong. Rich and poor, they want commerce, and as soon as possible they got back up and running.
Ham radio was the only communication in or out of the area for days, GET YOUR HAM LICENSES, AND LEARN TO USE THE RADIOS YOU BUY, I can’t say this loud or long enough. Learn who your friends are. Most people are very civil, and thankful that your there to help. Americans don’t tolerate criminal disobedience, looting. etc. There were signs everywhere: “LOOTERS WILL BE SHOT”, and people carrying guns to do it with.

I am proud to say we live in a strong country, but we are woefully ill-prepared. We must get our neighbors up and running before the Big One here where I live in California. It will devastate major metro areas, and small towns alike. We must get ready and prepare like never before. Encourage people to get prepared! Blessings to all who read this. Our ministry is located at – David Martin e-mail:

JWR Adds: The Blessings For Obedience ministry deserves your support, folks! Like most small Christian charities, it operates with minimal overhead, so virtually all of your contributions will go directly to radio gear and direct travel expenses for the volunteer radion station installers.

Letter Re: Retreat Architecture Options

I noticed that one of your readers requested information on retreat architecture. I’m off the grid and in the process of building a house. Before designing it, I investigated several different types of architecture, including straw bale, insulated concreted form (ICF), adobe, corn cob, concrete and earth-bermed. All of these have wonderful advantages, but one major drawback: nearly all literature and materials available to novices are dedicated to mainstream stick-built homes.

I’ve found few books or other resources that give step-by-step instructions on building in alternative materials, although I’ve found many for stick-built. Home Depot carries lumber, insulation, windows, etc designed to be used in stick-built homes. Even sub-contractors for concrete, electrical, and plumbing look askance when asked about alternative building.

End result: I’m building a standard frame house, despite its many drawbacks. Those who wish to pursue alternative building designs should be aware that they’ll need to be either very experienced, or very stubborn in the face of obstacles. 🙂 – JD

Letter Re: Optimism, Survival Mindset, and Television

Regarding your statement: “A lot of people are starting to wake up and recognize the fragility of our society.” I really wish I had your optimism. I’m afraid I don’t give the sheeple any credit any more. By sheeple I mean the general public. I just don’t have any respect for the sheeple left at all. They could cry that they “didn’t know” before 9/11 but they have no excuse in my book now a days. I think Paul describes today’s people pretty well in his epistles. To be honest, I fear for our Country.

One of the biggest problems IMO is TV. People were starting to prepare, store a little food, buy gas masks, etc. after 9/11. Then a month later the TV was bashing them for it. Once it was “out of the norm” again, the sheeple gave up. I can’t imagine living my life based on TV influences. We stopped watching TV when we moved in 99 and it has been great. We selectively watch movies, that’s it.

Freeing oneself of the mental chains put on by TV/media is one of the biggest problems I see with survivalists now a days. Whether they realize it or not, a lot of “there” opinions come directly from the talking heads, “opinion polls” and the news. You see it all the time on the message boards. People who say they are conservatives but espouse liberal thinking and attitudes.

Survivalists need to re-learn how to think for themselves. I’ve met so many who were good people, motivated, etc. but just could not think outside the box to solve any problem. Survival situations are going to require outside the box type thinking. One of my favorite movie lines is: “Improvise, overcome, adapt!”, from Heartbreak Ridge.

I think every survivalist should go one year without watching regular TV and note the change in his attitude, mental and physical abilities (hard to sit on your butt drinking beer and watching TV if their’s nothing to watch!). It tends to bring the Family closer also.
Long rant, sorry. Once again, thanks for your efforts! – R.H.

Letter From Mr. Sierra Re: My SurvivalBlog T-Shirt as a Conversation Starter

Excellent Survival Blog T-Shirt! It arrived in the mail the other day and I wore it to work and my fellow employees wanted to read the quote on the back. My boss said he always wanted to see if he could survive on a remote State of Maine island with just some parachute cord, a fish hook, a tin can, matches, fire starter and space blanket for a few days. I said why not try something a lot easier, and just shut the electricity off on some Friday night at your house, and turn it on again on Monday morning and see how you can manage two small children, wife, food preparation, entertainment, etc… He sighed and said, "Now that would be tough!" – Mr. Sierra

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace–but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
– Patrick Henry March 23,1775

Note from JWR:

Our prayers are with everyone on the Gulf Coast. One last warning: The chances of nationwide fuel shortages in the wake of Rita are 90%+.

Today, I’m covering Wyoming, the last of 19 western states, in my rankings of states by their retreat potential. This series will be followed by some detailed recommendations within these 19 states. OBTW, I’d appreciate hearing from easterners with their specific recommendations for good retreat locales outside of my “top 19 states” list.

State By State – Wyoming

Population: 493,780.
Population Density: 5 per square mile (Rank 19 of JWR’s top 19 states).
Area: 97,800 square miles (rank 9 of 50).
Average car insurance cost: $646/yr. (rank 44 of 50).
Average home insurance cost: $484/yr. (rank 20 of 50).
Crime Safety Ranking: 7 of 50.
Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 93%.
Per capita income: $27,372 (rank 28 of 50).
ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 16 of 50.
Plusses: Low population density, very low crime rate, no income tax.
Low car insurance rates.
Minuses: Brutally cold winters, especially at higher elevations. Minimal growing season. (Snow has been reported in every month of the year in every county in Wyoming!) There are missile fields (see map) in the southeast corner of the state. (Part of the large array of missile sites that overlaps into northern Colorado and parts of Nebraska.) These ICBM missile silos would be primary targets in the event of a full scale nuclear exchange.

Wyoming is not recommended for a survivalist with a small to moderate budget. However, if you are someone who is wealthy and who can stand the cold, Wyoming should be bumped up to your top choice. Taxes will be a big issue for you—and Wyoming has no income tax. As someone “of means” you will be able to afford lots of food storage, voluminous fuel storage, and a large greenhouse to make up for the severe climate. Look for natural gas producing areas so that you can run your vehicles on “drip oil.” Anyone considering relocating to Wyoming should read Boston T. Party’s novel Molon Labe, which depicts a Libertarian political coup in the state, as part of the nascent “Free States” migration movement. Two related groups are currently encouraging libertarians to move to New Hampshire and Wyoming to create a political sea change. See: and
Note: I probably should have given Wyoming a higher ranking, due to its favorable gun and tax laws. However, its severe climate and minimal growing season pushed it down the list. If you can stand hard winters, by all means consider Wyoming a top choice.
JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 5 of 19.

Investing Philosophy + Free Economic Newsletters and Websites

You may have noticed that I only write sparingly about economics and investing. I do follow economic trends closely, but I don’t consider myself an expert. If you want to categorize me, then you could say that I fall into the “Guns and Groceries” school of survivalism rather than the “Krugerrands and Plane Tickets to Offshore Havens” school. My current advice is fairly terse: Concentrate on buying tangibles. (Namely: productive farm land, storage food, practical tools, guns, and common caliber ammunition.) Then after you have your retreat fully squared away with logistics, it is time to consider buying some gold and silver. For the record: I consider gold at anything under $500 an ounce and silver at anything under $8 an ounce as genuine bargains. In the long term the dollar and all other paper currencies will be relegated to their proper use, as kindling. The other reason that I don’t write voluminously about the markets and investing because these topics are already well covered at a variety of great “hard money”-oriented web sites. For commentary and analysis, my favorite of these sites is So for me to add my (pre-’64) $0.10 worth would just be redundant.

Part of my daily routine is reading economics newsletters. Parenthetically, you can subscribe to many of these e-mail newsletters free of charge. Some have daily issues while others are e-mailed weekly. These include: The Daily Reckoning and its sister publication The Rude Awakening, Whiskey and Gunpowder, The Sovereign Society Offshore A-Letter, What We Know Now (from Casey Research), and Dr. Gary’s North’s Reality Check. If you have the time to do some reading, then I highly recommend all of these newsletters! But if your time is limited and you need to pick just one, then make it The Daily Reckoning.

Note from JWR:

You will notice that there are several new advertisements in our scrolling “ad bar.” And even more ads will be posted there in the next few days. Vendors have gradually come to the realization that SurvivalBlog is the place to be to attract customers! Some advertising space is still available at our low rates, but be advised that there will be a rate increase on October 1st. This is the “last call” to lock in an ad contract (for up to six months) at the current rates.

Today, I’m covering Washington, the 18th of 19 western states in my rankings of states by their retreat potential. This series will be followed by some detailed recommendations within these 19 western states. I’d also appreciate hearing from easterners with their specific recommendations.

State By State – Washington

Population: 5.9 million.
Population Density: 86.6 per square mile (Far less in the eastern half of the state!) Very high population density (by western U.S. standards.) (Rank 3 of JWR’s top 19 states).
Area: 68,100 square miles (rank 20 of 50).
Average car insurance cost: $803/yr. (rank 19 of 50).
Average home insurance cost: $428/yr. (rank 31 of 50).
Crime Safety Ranking: 30 of 50.
Boston T. Party’s State Firearms Laws Ranking: 57%.
Per capita income: $31,230 (rank 11 of 50).
ACT & SAT Scores Ranking: 10 of 50 (tied with Oregon).
Plusses: Low property taxes in some of the eastern counties. (But rising!)
Whitman county Washington taxes rose 80% from 1988 to 1995. In 2002,
the annual tax bill was $3,047 on a $200,000 home. (Second highest in the state.)
The median home value in 2000 for Washington was $168,300, up 38 percent
since 1990, adjusted for inflation. The average statewide property tax rate in Washington is $13.53 per $1,000 of assessed value.
Minuses: Creeping Californication. Highly regulated home schooling. Fairly high crime rates in the Western counties and in the larger cities in the eastern half of the state—such as Spokane, Yakima, and the Tri-Cities (Richland/Pasco/Kennewick) region. A draconian business gross receipts tax of 1.5%-to-3%. Marginal gun laws. Very high sales tax. (8.8%)
Parts of the state are recommended. (See my detailed retreat locale recommendations posted starting September 24, 2005.)
Note: I probably should have given Washington a lower ranking, due to its mediocre tax and gun laws. However, like Oregon, its favorable climate and growing season pushed it up the list.
JWR’s Combined Retreat Potential Ranking: 4 of 19.

A Reader in Washington Adds:
Just a few nits to pick (grin), RE: “A draconian business gross receipts tax of 2-to-3%. Marginal gun laws. Very high sales tax. (8.8%)”
Can’t disagree with draconian. Can disagree with the B&O rates, slightly. They depend completely on the type of business. My business is taxed at 1.5%.
Sales taxes vary per county over a very wide range.
Gas tax is $0.28 per gallon.
Just for fun, check out this link for “major” taxes in the Evergreen state. Yikes.
There are also more than a few badges (not obvious, but there nonetheless if you know what to look for) at our local gun shows at the County fairgrounds. Keeping an eye on who, what, and how much. Not particularly comfortable about that one. Best Regards, and keep up the good work. – T.S.