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Valero And Motiva Louisiana Refineries Threatened With Flooding: "Before" And "After" Flood Pics

Tyler Durden's picture


And while the open warfare between speculators and the administration, senators and exchanges continues, the gasoline fundamentals are poised to take another turn for the worse. As Reuters reports, "Valero Energy Corp's and Motiva Enterprises refineries in St. Charles Parish Louisiana, west of New Orleans, will be flooded if the Morganza Spillway is not opened, the St. Charles Parish emergency preparedness director said on Wednesday." Alas, the decision is not a simple one, and diverting the water from Louisiana, and attendant surge in gas prices once refining critical capacity is taken off line, would result in the flooding of Morgan City. From KFLY: "Officials say a decision on opening the
Morganza spillway could come soon.  The Morganza Spillway is upriver
from Baton Rouge and could be opened today, or this weekend. The floodway pours into the Atchafalaya River, and on to the Gulf of Mexico. Right now, inmates are filling sandbags to protect properties that could
be damaged if the spillway is opened.  If the Morganza spillway is
opened, Morgan City could see up to 20 feet of water.
Mark Bernucho owns a fire and safety supply business across the street
from the 22-foot seawall, and he said it's the only thing keeping the
water away. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers installed water gauges
Wednesday, to monitor the rising river waters." So the administration is faced with another dilemma: not divert and potentially see a surge in gas prices, or divert, and risk flooding and be accused of pandering to the oil lobby, one short year after the same lobby was villainized for the biggest oil spill in history. The biggest loser, however, is all the real estate in proximity to the flooded Mississippi river.

For those who have not seen before and after pictures, see below:


Flooding in Memphis


Flooding in Memphis

And an update from Earth Observatory:

The Mississippi River reached 47.87 feet (14.59 meters) in Memphis,
Tennessee, on May 10, 2011, according to the Advanced Hydrological
Prediction Service (AHPS)
of the U.S. National Weather Service. It was the highest water level for
Memphis since 1937, when the river reached 48.7 feet (14.8 meters).
Fortunately in 2011, an effective flood-control system helped save most
residents from harm, according to The Commercial Appeal.

The Thematic Mapper on Landsat 5 captured the top image on May 10,
2011, and the bottom image (showing non-flooded conditions) on April 21,
2010. Both images are natural color and show the area as it would look
to the human eye. In May 2011, muddy water has pushed over the
Mississippi’s banks both east and west of the normal river channel.
Flood waters span the distance between Memphis and West Memphis, and
also fill a floodplain extending to an industrial park northwest of
Treasure Island.

On May 7, authorities closed Mud Island River Park indefinitely due
to flooded service roads that prevented emergency responders from
reaching the park, The Daily News reported.

Although flooding has not yet caused major damage in Memphis, the
possibility of another rise on the Mississippi has not been ruled out,
and flood waters are expected to recede slowly. The AHPS projected that
the Mississippi River would remain at major flood stage until at least
May 15. The Commercial Appeal reported that two weeks might
pass before the river dropped enough to again absorb water from local
tributaries, which were currently rising.

The Mississippi River Basin is the third largest in the world, after the Amazon and Congo. Managing floods along the river has challenged engineers
for more than a century. As of May 10, 2011, the AHPS reported major
flooding along the Mississippi from Cairo, Illinois, to Baton Rouge,
Louisiana. Springtime flooding also plagued other parts of the
continental United States, including areas along the Red River and in New England.


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Wed, 05/11/2011 - 15:44 | 1264615 Dr. Porkchop
Dr. Porkchop's picture

Gas $1.41 /L in Toronto area.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 17:06 | 1265084 Never_Put_Down
Never_Put_Down's picture

CDN$1.41 per liter is US$5.34 x 1.04 exchange = CDN$5.55 for a US gallon (CDN$6.28 for a CDN/UK Gallon)

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 15:44 | 1264619 tekhneek
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Wed, 05/11/2011 - 15:43 | 1264633 Ancona
Ancona's picture

I'm guessing this will be bullish for agribusiness stocks.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 17:55 | 1265373 Dirt Rat
Dirt Rat's picture

Very bullish for corn futures, but then of course the CME might have to make some new rules.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 15:45 | 1264641 Hedgetard55
Hedgetard55's picture

I own  a small amount of VLO, so I vote "Open 'er up and let it rip".

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 15:45 | 1264642 Gubbmint Cheese
Gubbmint Cheese's picture

Chop - here's an interesting site for keeping tabs on gas prices..


we are $1.319/L here in Victoria

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 16:20 | 1264705 oddjob
oddjob's picture

Is that the same Victoria that pumps their untreated sewage directly into the Strait of Juan de Fuca?

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 17:20 | 1265172 Never_Put_Down
Never_Put_Down's picture

Yes that's the one! The Governemnt are now looking for proposals to address the situation. It's dragged on for decades but the heat they are now taking for not doing something is forcing the issue.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 15:48 | 1264643 Ray1968
Ray1968's picture

If flooding takes out a refinery... its because a speculator made it rain.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 23:22 | 1266421 knukles
knukles's picture

Or the rules weren't changed enough in Goldilocks favor to have Them intercede with God on Humanity's behalf.

What the fuck else you get paid for doing God's work?

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 15:46 | 1264647 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

I just don't see how floods and such can affect crude price. 

We've got BANKS on the job.  They just print some paper or something and set the prices to whatever they want.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 15:50 | 1264648 cowdiddly
cowdiddly's picture

Yep taking out the competition by flooding out all the river boat gambling houses. Casino mgnt 101

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 15:49 | 1264662 PaperBear
PaperBear's picture

Those nasty speculators.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 15:50 | 1264666 oklaboy
oklaboy's picture

watcha gonna doo, watcha goonna dooo when Obama comes for youuuuuu

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 15:50 | 1264670 Sofa King
Sofa King's picture

"refining critical capacity"...please.  Now do some responsible reporting and publish a list of all the refineries that are closed due to lack of demand.  I'm sorry, they are open, they are being used to store all the excessive product out there but the refining units are off. 


Wed, 05/11/2011 - 16:01 | 1264686 Iriestx
Iriestx's picture

This is exactly right.  The margins in refining have been for shit, and with India and China flooding the market with refined products there have been a large number of US refineries that have either downscaled (See: HOVENSA) their capacity or shut down all together.

I love ZH, but "refining critical capacity" isn't even close to the truth in the refining industry.

The only thing profitable in the refinining industry are giant tank fields to store crude, and the terminal services.

The rest of the world doesn't have to deal with shit like OSHA and the EPA (See: Reliance Refinery Jamnagar, Gujarat, India).  They're free to build and run enormous refineries with no regard to the workers safety, community health or the environment.



Wed, 05/11/2011 - 17:17 | 1265171 SuperRay
SuperRay's picture

oh, yes, they're my idol. I wish we could have no regard for worker safety, community health, or the environment, too...

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 19:30 | 1265736 Iriestx
Iriestx's picture

It's the difference between making money and losing money when you're refining.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 15:51 | 1264674 Ruffcut
Ruffcut's picture

Build more shit in flood plains.

"build it, and she will flood". No one heard the voices, though.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 16:07 | 1264754 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Wanna buy Some prime sub sea level real estate?

Good price for you my friend!

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 16:56 | 1265050 Korrath
Korrath's picture

"It was not impossible to build Rapture at the bottom of the ocean;

It was impossible to build it anywhere else".

- Andrew Ryan

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 18:27 | 1265547 bbq on whitehou...
bbq on whitehouse lawn's picture

Thats right but Rapture didn't have insurance.

Nor was Rapture built without taking the environment in mind.

Don't build or buy land/home on a flood plain and expect your home or land to not flood.

Rivers don't care about your carpet nor should they.


Wed, 05/11/2011 - 18:32 | 1265563 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

i need to go finish that game...

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 23:55 | 1266523 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

I wish that whoever is playing SimPlanet™2011 with the Earth would lay off the disasters button for around 10 cycles or so!

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 17:29 | 1265222 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

Workers at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant in Port Gibson, Miss., last Thursday released a large amount of radioactive tritium directly into the Mississippi River, according to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and experts are currently trying to sort out the situation. An investigation is currently underway to determine why the tritium was even present in standing water found in an abandoned unit of the plant, as well as how much of this dangerous nuclear byproduct ended up getting dumped into the river. Many also want to know why workers released the toxic tritium before conducting proper tests.

Learn more:
Wed, 05/11/2011 - 19:41 | 1265798 Bob Dobbs
Bob Dobbs's picture

Buzzard off a shitwagon.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 17:35 | 1265261 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

The biggest loser, however, is all the real estate in proximity to the flooded Mississippi river.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.  Kinda like an Indian.

I am Chumbawamba.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 15:55 | 1264694 economessed
economessed's picture

NOAA has been predicting significantly above-average flooding for the entire river system since January, and the accuracy of their predictions has been uncanny since the February report.

Given this information, I'm blown away when I hear people in the flood plain didn't purchase flood insurance.  They had much more notice than the 30 day lock-out period.  Are they not paying attention, or are they in such bad financial shape that they can't buy the insurance (but can afford to lose everything they own)?

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 16:36 | 1264894 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

Yes they are indeed accurate. Strange isn't it.

It does make some sense though. Look at the michigan one.

If you run haarp over this and liquify the soil to very deep levels it makes the earthquakes more intense. Maybe they respond to resonant frequencies better or maybe they respond to magnetics better. If water can diffuse out electricity then I wonder if it's diffusive to magenetics.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 17:17 | 1265153 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

Lorca, Spain getting a "rare" bit of quake attention. . .

The earth quake struck at 6:47 p.m. local time, according to Spain's National Geographical Institute data. The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter was one kilometer below the ground. A milder quake of 4.5 magnitude had hit the town shortly before.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 18:01 | 1265421 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

Ya. They tried to make that a prophecy for rome but they screwed up and hit spain instead.

LULZ. People in the ghost region love fucking with ya.

Ok you want us to allow an earthquake in rome so you can be prophetic sure thing boss.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 18:36 | 1265565 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

it's the Loyalty Islands / Fiji / NZ region I'm watching just now, lots of shaking in the 5.0 averages. . .


full moon in scorpio tuesday 17th.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 22:48 | 1266336 Green Leader
Green Leader's picture

Will that full moon be good for planting plantains?

Some people swear by the full moon for plantain & banana corms planting...

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 15:57 | 1264700 Crabshack
Crabshack's picture

OT:  5.3 Earthquake in Spain.  Not too strong but apparently shallow.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 16:00 | 1264703 MrBinkeyWhat
MrBinkeyWhat's picture

Louisiana has not been fuKed quite enough yet.

Let's make sure her ass is not bleeding enough.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 15:57 | 1264704 litoralkey
litoralkey's picture

" It was the highest water level for Memphis since 1937, when the river reached 48.7 feet"

Back in 1937 , the whites left the blacks to die in the aftermath, was an ugly situation in that area at the height of what became a third wave of the Great Depression in the region, as a million people were left homeless after the floods.  Memphis had more refugees than residents for something like two years afterwards.


Wed, 05/11/2011 - 18:04 | 1265438 Mad Cow
Mad Cow's picture

"the whites left the blacks to die in the aftermath"
Why didn't the blacks leave too?

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 19:46 | 1265815 Bob Dobbs
Bob Dobbs's picture

They still lived in conditions approaching slavery.  The flood of '27 is often credited as the beginning of the 'great migration' North.  In 1937 migration was rolling, but during the war it really took off.  The effective phase of the Civil Rights movement started during the 1927 - 37 flood years.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 21:27 | 1266087 Mad Cow
Mad Cow's picture

"approaching slavery" 'great migration'
Was someone guarding them so they couldn't leave?

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 22:47 | 1266333 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

Are you seriously this dense?  They were all niggers back then.  Their options were somewhat limited.

I am Chumbawamba.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 23:47 | 1266437 Mad Cow
Mad Cow's picture


Wed, 05/11/2011 - 20:05 | 1265704 Monedas
Monedas's picture

"Mission Unaccomplished !" ? Sama died, Bama lied ! Monedas is doing his part to ease the pressure on the besieged refineries ! His coin store, his ATM and his coin store's bank share the same parking lot ! I even keep $6 in a savings account in my coin store's bank so they don't charge me $5 to cash the coin store's checks ! I'm not so lean.....but I'm a green machine ! Monedas 2011 Ridin' the risin' tide of humour ! PS No ! I don't live in a Chevy Astro van in the same parking lot !

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 16:01 | 1264709 sabra1
sabra1's picture

are the prisoners getting paid at least?

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 16:08 | 1264761 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

They get à discount on their rent this month

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 16:27 | 1264869 j0nx
j0nx's picture

Their payment is not getting the guards' boot up their asses. ALL inmates ought to be doing this kind of work instead of pumping iron and their cellie's butthole 24/7. If I was running the prisons then they would be out on the road picking up loose trash, painting government buildings and doing anything else that needed to be done for the common good. I'd slap an unbreakable GPS tracker on their ankle and have 2 or 3 armed guards for a 50 man chain gang cool hand luke style. Prison would be known as a place where you do NOT want to go if I was running shit. I still to this day don't understand why nobody has instituted this kind of penal system. Just the arrested drunken illegal aliens alone would perpetually keep the grounds clean and the buildings maintained for every municipality.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 17:19 | 1265170 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

I still to this day don't understand why nobody has instituted this kind of penal system.

There are business interests which see prisoner labor as unfair competition and work to prevent it from happening.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 17:19 | 1265184 SuperRay
SuperRay's picture

on the other hand, there are business interests that lobby for more prisoners, so they can squeeze a few more bucks out of you and me...

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 17:53 | 1265381 MacGruber
MacGruber's picture

Totally, as if subsidies aren't enough, now the oil companies can get free governement labor.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 18:06 | 1265435 mynhair
mynhair's picture

Surely you meant union interests.....

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 19:36 | 1265782 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Probably them too, sure, but it's madness to be so blinded by lib/con nonsense that you can't think clearly about this stuff. 

If you run a lawn-care business that has a shot at a contract to take care of a specific section of the state highway, or school grounds, or whatever, you don't want prisoners doing it for free.

Businesses can't compete with free labor.  Union or not, the problem is the same.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 17:36 | 1265277 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

If I was running the prisons I'd have you working the tart line after the real men come home for the day fresh off the chain gang and need some release.

If prison were actually for punishing people and rehabilitating them and not just for shaking down poor people and providing cheap labor for corporations, then you might have a point.

I am Chumbawamba.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 18:29 | 1265553 bbq on whitehou...
bbq on whitehouse lawn's picture

Would you work to help those who want you dead?


Wed, 05/11/2011 - 19:48 | 1265826 Bob Dobbs
Bob Dobbs's picture

In the old days folk would jess tell ya "Fuck you white boy."  I's sorta old myself . . .

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 16:08 | 1264746 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

And where THE fuck is noah when you need him?!?!?!?!?

Drunk bastard...
He Must be sleeping it of against...

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 18:47 | 1265612 bbq on whitehou...
bbq on whitehouse lawn's picture

Noah is busy getting out of the flood plain. Parting water is no longer done as water vs Noah 526bc proved that water has a right to property. Water can own its self and Noah had no right to harm waters right to exist or travel.

Noah paid water in gold thats why all followers of Noah are asked for donations to this day.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 01:19 | 1266655 stephysat28
stephysat28's picture


Wed, 05/11/2011 - 16:14 | 1264787 Catullus
Catullus's picture

They're going to have to open morganza anyway. There's no choice here.

NWS has river at 65 feet in BR on Saturday. Too high. Can't let water go overtop the levee.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 17:55 | 1265377 Federal Reserf
Federal Reserf's picture

Yep.  Once the COE has high enough water to cover their asses, they'll flood out the coon-asses down the Atchafalaya.  Hmm?  Oil & gas getting crushed. My captain friend in New Orleans  says things are getting treacherous on ole man river which will reduce marine traffic.  Lower supply of oil barges and ships on the river+ volatile middle east + potential refinery flooding = oil & gasoline trading lower in a ponzi economy.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 21:29 | 1266105 Catullus
Catullus's picture

Anyone in the basin that doesnt have their house stilts deserves what they get. Then again, even since I moved, I still keep an axe in my attic.

Email from one of our plant managers said SW terrebone parrish should get 5 feet. Corps will open Morganza on saturday

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 21:56 | 1266166 Federal Reserf
Federal Reserf's picture

A house on stilts or on a barge or the choupiques will be taking refuge in your living room. They said that on radio before Katrina hit.  If you stay home, you had better have an axe with you to escape. 

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 21:56 | 1266167 Federal Reserf
Federal Reserf's picture

A house on stilts or on a barge or the choupiques will be taking refuge in your living room. They said that on radio before Katrina hit.  If you stay home, you had better have an axe with you to escape. 

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 16:38 | 1264918 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

Gasoline futures utterly destroyed today.

That means when the floodwaters subside, gasoline prices could really start crashing.

Proof positive that "Paper" rules over "Physical."

Don't fool with Uncle Gorilla....

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 17:25 | 1265219 bothsidesnow
bothsidesnow's picture

+1  Robot but you forgot physical folks don't care what the price is in FRN's because they are betting on the day when the FRN dies or the world ends, something that will allow them to use their glocks.

Apparently the only time they really care to discuss the price in FRN's is when they are paying 10 FRN's over spot for silver on Ebay and they think it's a deal and they think it means their is a shortage of silver.

I just talked to UCSF they are willing to sponsor me for a PhD on the psychology of the let's get physical crowd. I will give you some props in my dissertation. LOL.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 18:09 | 1265468 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

Oh no we are going to get head shrunk.

We are so psycholologically weaks that we can'ts defends ourselves from the massive rhetorik lying headshrinkers.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 17:16 | 1265144 velobabe
velobabe's picture

i think ms creant lives in tennessee, hope she found some shelter.

not to belittle this potential, it rained here all night and this morning. the most beautiful of days with rain and some snow. we were blessed by mother nature to clean our souls.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 18:02 | 1265415 Mentaliusanything
Mentaliusanything's picture

Look on the bright side - there is another excuse that can be rolled out if some rubberry figures don't beat the freaking Street.

Mana from Heaven really 

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 20:57 | 1265947 Monedas
Monedas's picture

The floodwaters rose alarmingly and looters had to be "rescued on sight" from rooftops by National Guard helicopters ! ........ I sold a couple of Pt Nobles the other day and had to deposit it directly in my checking account to cover a hot check to Kitco and one to Apmex ! I was behind a debit card carrying welfare Mama ! She checked her balance with the cashier......$1800 ! I thought, "It's like the government gives her the equivalent of two Pt Nobles every month !" ? I had to scrimp and save and wait twenty years to cash in my Nobles ! Life ain't fair ! Monedas 2011 Ol' man River Comedy Tour

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 20:41 | 1266004 Rynak
Rynak's picture

Reality vs. Illusion, the movie.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 21:25 | 1266100 Terminal Frost
Terminal Frost's picture

Mother Nature is a cruel, vindictive bitch and she wins every time.  Humans are rather slow to accept that fact.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 10:05 | 1267520 dracos_ghost
dracos_ghost's picture

Man, Mother Nature is really pissed lately.

Must have been margin called on her commodities.


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