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Arctic Cold Cuts U.S. Fuel Supply as Processing Freezes

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A woman bundles up against the cold on the morning of January 7, 2014 in New York, United States. Photographer: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, Exxon Mobil Corp. and others are working to return normal operations to pipelines, terminals and refineries that were battered by record cold weather yesterday.

A warm-up will push eastern U.S. temperatures to seasonal readings over the next five days and then higher from Jan. 13 through Jan. 17, according to Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. Yesterday was the coldest day of the 21st century in the contiguous U.S., based on natural gas-weighted heating-degree days.

The highs in New York will swing between the low 50s and mid-20s over the next two weeks, AccuWeather’s website showed.

All natural gas pipelines from the west and south into New England remain constrained today. Natural gas prices set yesterday for delivery today are more than $25 per million British thermal units in New York and New England, down as much as 40 percent from yesterday’s high, the Energy Information Administration said in a report.

“We’re not quite out of the woods yet,” said Tyson Brown, a statistician at the EIA in Washington. “Luckily the forecast for tomorrow is even milder still.”

Forces Majeures

Kinder lifted forces majeures at midnight at ethanol terminals in Chicago and Argo, Illinois, because weather conditions have improved, said Melissa Ruiz, a Houston-based spokeswoman for the company.

Kinder also lifted strained operating conditions and canceled operational flow orders on several natural gas pipelines, according to bulletins it posted online.

Spectra Energy Partners LP lifted a force majeure it issued yesterday on its Texas Eastern natural gas pipeline after it returned compressor stations to service in Uniontown and Delmont in Pennsylvania. The entire system is operating normally, the Houston-based company said on its website.

Exxon’s 238,000-barrel-a-day Joliet, Illinois, refinery was operating normally after extreme cold triggered failures at process units yesterday, Tricia Simpson, a spokeswoman at the plant, said by e-mail.

BP Plc’s 160,000-barrel-a-day Toledo refinery in Ohio restarted benzene strippers that shut down after equipment froze because of the low temperatures yesterday, according to a filing with city regulators.

Korea National Oil Corp.’s 115,000 barrel-a-day plant in Come By Chance, Newfoundland, was trying to restart after a power failure in the deep cold, Gloria Slade, a spokeswoman at the plant, told CBC News yesterday.

To contact the reporters on this story: Eliot Caroom in New York at ecaroom@bloomberg.net; Dan Murtaugh in Houston at dmurtaugh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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