The Houston Ship Channel (HSC) remains closed to ship traffic after a barge spilled 168,000 gallons of heavy marine fuel, or about 4,000 barrels (bbl).

Changing currents, winds and weather conditions have made it necessary for responders to further extend oil recovery plans into the Gulf of Mexico and south along Galveston Island.

Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. said the U.S. Coast Guard expects a “tapered” reopening, not a “floodgate.” Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) partially reduced runs at its 560,000-barrel per day (bbl/d) Baytown refinery.

“Hopefully the port is back to normal by midweek,” the firm said.

The Coast Guard reported March 24 that 46 outbound and 47 inbound vessels are in the queue for transit in the Port of Houston. The Port of Texas City has five inbound and three outbound vessels immobilized.

Once it has been determined that the Channel is safe to navigate and that transiting vessels will not spread oil contaminants, a prioritization list will be established to determine the entry order of vessels, the Coast Guard said.