Gulf Coast ports close, LOOP halts oil deliveries ahead of Hurricane Ida

By Liz Hampton

(Reuters) – Ports from southern Louisiana to Mississippi were closed on Sunday morning as Hurricane Ida raced toward the U.S. Gulf Coast as an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm.

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), the largest privately owned crude terminal in the United States, had also halted deliveries ahead of the storm, according to a notice on its website. LOOP’s terminal is located in the open waters of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, about 18 miles (29 km) off the Louisiana shore.

Ports in southern Louisiana, including Houma and the Port of New Orleans were closed on Sunday, while in Mississippi Biloxi, Gulfport, Pascagoula and the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway were shut.

Ida has intensified faster than officials predicted, prompting evacuations along the Gulf Coast and business closures. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards on Saturday warned it could be the state’s worst direct hit since the 1850s.