Texas Oil Companies Scramble to Restore Operations After Storm

Texas oil companies work to restore operations and power following Hurricane Beryl

by Victor Adetimilehin

Oil and gas companies in Texas are working to restart operations following the disruption caused by Hurricane Beryl, which struck the Gulf Coast with 80-mph (129-kph) winds. The storm, which made landfall near Matagorda, Texas, on Monday, led to significant power outages and damage, although its impact on oil and gas production is expected to be limited.

Damage Assessment and Restoration Efforts

As of Tuesday, many companies began resuming operations, though some facilities are still hindered by the slow restoration of power. Ports that were closed in anticipation of the storm have started reopening, and energy firms are ramping up output where possible.

AccuWeather has estimated the total damage and economic loss from Hurricane Beryl in the United States to be between $28 billion and $32 billion. More than 1.8 million customers remained without power in Texas on Tuesday evening, with about 1.4 million of those customers served by CenterPoint Energy.

CenterPoint Energy reported that it had restored power to over 850,000 customers out of the 2.26 million affected. However, full restoration will take more time. “I can’t give you a timeline, but it’s not going to be tomorrow,” said Paul Lock, CenterPoint’s Local Government Relations Manager. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick emphasized the urgency of restoring power, stating, “We can do a post-analysis of their success or failures after we get the power back.”

In Houston, where temperatures reached the high 90s Fahrenheit (32.2° Celsius) on Tuesday, power outages caused significant problems, including the loss of air conditioning and closures of many gasoline stations due to lack of power or fuel stocks.

Impact on Oil and Gas Operations

Despite the hurricane’s impact, the interruption to oil production and refining has been minimal. Texas, which accounts for about 40% of U.S. oil output and 20% of gas production, is a key hub for shipping and refining. Any prolonged disruption could affect crude and fuel production levels, as well as imports and exports.

Goldman Sachs noted that while the hurricane did not cause severe disruptions, the closure of several oil ports and widespread power outages could affect oil demand. Most refineries in Houston and Texas City are designed to operate during heavy rainfall, but sustained power interruptions can still cause issues.

Marathon Petroleum was preparing to restart multiple units at its Galveston Bay refinery, awaiting power to resume operations. Phillips 66’s Sweeny refinery returned to normal operations after an upset caused by the storm. Citgo Petroleum also temporarily reduced production at its Corpus Christi plant over the weekend.

Ports from Point Comfort to Houston, including Freeport, Galveston, and Texas City, experienced damage and operational delays. The Port of Corpus Christi and Port of Freeport reopened on Monday, with some facilities running on backup power. The Houston Ship Channel opened to inbound traffic with restrictions, and Port Houston announced its terminals would resume operations on Wednesday.

The Port of Galveston, however, continued to experience power outages, with vessel and cargo operations suspended as of Tuesday. Despite this, at least one cruise ship was cleared to dock at Galveston.

Shell, Chevron, and BP started redeploying personnel evacuated from their Gulf of Mexico platforms. Exxon Mobil assessed its Hoover offshore platform while working to restart operations. Freeport LNG, the third-largest liquefied natural gas facility in te U.S., has not provided an operational update since reducing production on Sunday.

Source: Reuters

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