By August 28, 2017 Read More →

Hurricane Harvey wallops US oil hub with high winds, rain

Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey has soaked the city of Houston, forcing the closure of a number of refineries in the area. Reuters photo by Richard Carson.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas

Hurricane Harvey continues to plague the Texas coast, forcing thousands of people from their homes, shutting down export facilities and possibly damaging oil refineries.

Harvey is the strongest hurricane to hit the Lone Star State in over 50 years.  It made landfall between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas sometime around 10 p.m. on Friday.

enmaxHurricane Harvey is slowly moving through an area where a number of refineries, which process a total of 5 million barrels per day (b/d), are located.  As of Friday, 1 million b/d of crude and condensate refining capacity in Texas was shut down and 22 per cent of Gulf of Mexico oil production was also halted.  The Port of Corpus Christi, which ships the largest amount of US crude was closed, along with ports in Houston and Galveston.

Harvey also forced the shutdown of drilling in the Eagle Ford sale formation.

The city of Houston, home to 6.8 million people, is also the refining and petrochemical hub of the United States, has been crippled by the storm.  Reuters reports a number of refineries have shut down their operations, likely for weeks. Schools, airports and office buildings in the country’s fourth largest city have also been closed down.

Rainfall in some areas is forecast to be as high as 40 inches, likely causing substantial flooding which could mean lengthy power outages, damages to refineries and blocked crude and agricultural exports.

“Storm surges and 100-mph plus winds will result in widespread coastal devastation near and northeast of landfall,” Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist at The Weather Company told Bloomberg. “Amongst all the impacts from wind damage and storm surge, the freshwater inland flooding may end up being the biggest story of all.”

Governor Greg Abbott has declared an emergency and President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration which will make federal assistance available to supplement state and local recovery efforts.

“We are not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot,” Reuters reports Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said at a news briefing early on Monday. “Harvey is still a dangerous and historic storm.”


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