U.S. Energy Firms Hit By Another Storm Amid Slow Recovery


  • Tropical Storm Nicholas was off the southern coast of Texas on Monday with winds of 60 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.
  • Nicholas is the second cyclone to threaten the U.S. Gulf Coast energy complex.
  • Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on still-recovering oil production and refining facilities in late August and early September.

Evacuations were underway on Monday from offshore U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil platforms as onshore oil refiners began preparing for rain and heavy winds from a second hurricane in as many weeks, reports Reuters.

Hurricane Nicholas hits the Gulf coast

Royal Dutch Shell on Monday began evacuating staff from a U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil platform and other firms began preparing for hurricane-force winds from a second Gulf Coast storm in as many weeks.

Hurricane Nicholas was attempting to reach the central Texas coast with 75 miles per hour (120 kph) winds, threatening to bring heavy rain to Texas and many of Louisiana still recovering from Hurricane Ida.

From the upper Texas coast to southwest Louisiana, life-threatening flash floods up to 12 inches of rain are possible. National Hurricane Center said that Nicholas intensified into a category one hurricane late Monday but isn’t expected to strengthen further, the National hurricane Center reported.

Damages from Ida

Nicholas is the second cyclone to threaten the Gulf Coast energy complex in the past weeks. In late August and early September, Hurricane Ida wreaked a lot of damage to oil production and refining facilities in late September and late October. Since Ida struck, about 113,000 homes and businesses in Louisiana have lost power.

The offshore regulator Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said that more than 40 percent of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico’s oil and gas output remained offline on Monday, two weeks after Ida slammed into Louisiana

Production losses are incurred by offshore hubs that pump oil and gas from three major oilfields for processing onshore and power lines at on shore processing plants.

Non-essential personnel evacuated

The Royal Dutch Shell said it’s begun evacuating non-essential personnel from its Perdido platform, which was unaffected by Ida. Occidental Petroleum Corp (OXY.N) said it is implementing procedures to protect workers, signaling its own offshore evacuations.

Shippers warned of hurricane-force winds at oil export terminals on the Texas coast. The Houston Ship Channel, a 53-mile, 85 km waterway crucial to oil and fuel exports, stopped all traffic and the Aransas-Corpus Christi pilots suspended operations due to heavy seas.

According to PowerOutage.com, 55,000 homes and businesses were shut down late Monday. Citgo Petroleum, Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), Phillips 66 (PSX.M) and Shell said they’re preparing some of their coastal plants for severe weather.

Slow storm

The rain will be big, but the weather will rain. It will be a slow-moving storm. The study at Colorado State University said that when storms move at 5 mph per hour it can take a while to get out of the sky.

During the following week, crude oil futures rose at the open in Asia on Tuesday after a slight rise of 1% on Monday, and reached $70.45 p barrel for continued disruption to offshore production.

The imports and exports of oil are facing potential delays from Nicholas. Shippers said that the possibility of preventing ships from entering ports again, if they weren’t able to load or discharge during Ida, could be prevented from having to come to the ports reopening.

According to the Refinitiv Eikon vessel tracking, the first supertanker to dock since Ida at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), the largest privately owned terminal of the United States, hasn’t yet

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Source: Reuters