By August 29, 2017 Read More →

Hurricane Harvey: Explorer pipeline shuts down due to lack of product

Explorer pipeline

Hurricane Harvey ransacked most of the Gulf Coast area of Texas, and has forced the closure of some refineries in the Houston area. As a result, the Explorer pipeline has run out of product to ship. Reuters photo.

660,000 b/d Explorer pipeline out of product

Hurricane Harvey will likely force the shutdown of the Explorer pipeline main lines on Wednesday.  The company says it will shut down the lines because of a lack of product to pump.

Despite Harvey’s devastation, most of the Explorer pipeline system which moves gasoline, diesel, fuel oil and jet fuel from the US Gulf coast to the midcontinent, remains operational.

“Our biggest impediment is lack of product to pump,” Explorer vice president of operations Dolin Argo said in a press release. “Our system will run. Our 24-inch and 28-inch will run. We are going to run out of product to pump.”

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A number of refineries in the Houston area have been shuttered due to Hurricane Harvey.  About 3 million barrels per day (b/d), or about 16 per cent, of capacity in and around Houston is now offline or operating at reduced production.

On Tuesday, Motiva reported it is operating its Port Arthur refinery, the nation’s largest, at about 60 per cent of capacity due to disruptions caused by Hurricane Harvey.

The 1,830 mile-long Explorer pipeline begins in Port Arthur, Texas, moves on to Houston and then connects to Pasadena, Texas where it then moves to Tulsa, Oklahoma, then Wood River, Illinois and terminates in Hammond, Indiana.

According to the company, it has been unable to get product out of Pasadena, but has been running out of Port Arthur.  Officials expect that if conditions remain the same, product for the pipeline will run out on Wednesday.  The company will then shut down its 28-inch and 24-inch lines.

Dolin Argo says he does not know when Explorer will resume service on the lines.

Explorer also includes a 10-inch line that runs between Houston and Arlington, Texas.  This line has been shut down for about a day, but Argo says the company is in the process of bringing it back online.

Other pipeline companies have also been impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  Magellan Midstream Partners suspended inbound and outbound crude and refined product shipments as a result of Harvey.  These closures include the 400,000 b/d BridgeTex and 225,000 b/d Longhorn crude lines transporting crude between the Permian basin and the Houston area.






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