US Gulf Coast Oil and Gas companies Thursday emerged from shelter in the wake of Hurricane Isaac, a
assessing the damage and beginning to re-staff evacuated refineries and offshore platforms as the now-weakened storm winds its way through central Louisiana.

Tthe markets are being reassured: Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE:VLO) said Thursday 2 of its Louisiana refineries that were shut down in anticipation of the storm have sustained no major damage and are starting to be restaffed. The refineries, in Meraux and Norco, had been shut down early in the week; initial inspections have turned up minor wind damage to the facilities but no major damage to the refineries' production units, Valero spokesman Bill Day said. "We should have a better idea in the next few days when restart can begin," Mr. Day said.

Valero's Memphis, Tenn., refinery continues to run at reduced rates because of the closing of the 1.2-M BPD Capline pipeline that provides Crude Oil to the refinery, Mr. Day said.

Oil producer Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:APC) said its remote monitoring systems indicate that the company's deep-water Oil and Gas facilities in the Gulf of Mexico are intact, and workers will begin returning to the central Gulf Friday to do more thorough investigations of the facilities. Staff will return to facilities in the eastern Gulf starting Saturday morning; operations will restart whenever pipelines and other infrastructure allow, Anadarko said.

BP PLC (NYSE:BP), the biggest energy producer in the Gulf, said it would conduct flyovers at its offshore platforms as the weather permits.

Enbridge Inc. (NYSE:ENB) said its Stingray pipeline would start accepting nominations to ship at reduced capacity. The pipeline is designed to ship 560-M cubic feet a day of natural gas from the Gulf to onshore Louisiana.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM) said it is assessing its Gulf facilities.

Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) declined to comment on the state of its 464,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Garyville, La., which it ran at reduced rates during Isaac.

Phillips 66 (PSX) said it found some flooding at its 247,000 BPD refinery in Belle Chasse, La., in Plaquemines Parish, the area that suffered the initial brunt of the hurricane. " Refinery personnel are working to prevent more flooding and to pump water out of the flooded areas," the company said.

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, where giant tankers unload overseas crude oil, resumed delivering oil Wednesday night from its St. James, La., facility, spokeswoman Barb Hestermann said Thursday. Ms. Hestermann said the weather has cleared enough to allow workers to start assessing the port's onshore facilities, and there are plans to do an assessment of the marine terminal as well. The port lost power during the storm and, though power has not been restored to all the port's facilities, backup generators are working.

The average prices at the pump for gasoline Thursday were 0.11 higher for the week at 3.83 gal, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge.

Avery Ash, manager of regulatory affairs at the Automobile Association of America, said the increase was due to a jump earlier this week in the wholesale price that has taken awhile to make its way to the pump. That price rise was due to earlier uncertainty about the storm's effects.

The Department of Energy said Thursday that about 39% of Louisiana electric customers were without power. About 11% of electric customers in Mississippi had also lost power, the DOE said.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr. writes and publishes The Red Roadmaster's Technical Report on the US Major Market Indices, a weekly, highly-regarded financial market letter, read by opinion makers, business leaders and organizations around the world.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr has studied the global financial and stock markets since 1984, following a successful business career that included investment banking, and market and business analysis. He is a specialist in equities/commodities, and an accomplished chart reader who advises technicians with regard to Major Indices Resistance/Support Levels.