New York (Platts)--27 Aug 2017 17:45 pm EDT/21:45 GMT
Oil and gas companies on the Texas Gulf Coast were dealing Sunday with the impact of Tropical Storm Harvey, which was unleashing torrential rains and flooding after making landfall Saturday near Corpus Christi.
Refinery outages continued to spread Sunday, with roughly 2.2 million b/d of capacity down or being brought down. Corpus Christi-area refineries were already down ahead of the storm, and Houston area refineries Sunday were being taken down because of flooding.
As of 1 PM CDT (1800 GMT), Harvey was about 25 miles northwest of Victoria, Texas, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, according to the US National Hurricane Center.
"Harvey is expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 15 to 25 inches through Friday over the middle and upper Texas coast, including the Houston/Galveston metropolitan area. Isolated storm totals may reach 50 inches in this region," the NHC said.
Roughly 2.2 million b/d of refining capacity has been shut. Houston-area refineries began shutting Sunday because of flooding. Refiners have not reported any damage so far.
ExxonMobil was shuttin its massive Baytown, Texas, refining and chemical complex due to flooding caused by Harvey, the company said Sunday. Baytown, at 560,500 b/d, is the second-largest refinery in the US.
Shell was shutting its 340,000 b/d refinery complex in Deer Park, Texas, due to flooding, the company said Sunday in a message on a community hotline.
Phillips 66 began shutting its 247,000 b/d refinery in Sweeny, Texas, due to fears of Harvey-related flooding in Brazoria County, the company said Sunday.
The Texas Gulf Coast is home to 4.944 million b/d of refining capacity, while the Louisiana Gulf Coast is home to 3.696 million b/d of capacity, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
With roughly 2.2 million b/d of refining capacity down, refined products supplies should tighten, with major Texas Gulf Coast ports of Corpus Christi and Houston closed to vessel traffic, imports and exports of crude and refined products will be delayed.
Texas imported roughly 1.9 million b/d of waterborne crude in May, out of a total 3 million b/d into the Gulf Coast, according to US Energy Information Administration data. Another 418,000 b/d of various refined products and unfinished oils were imported into Texas in May.
Texas is also a major source of refined products to the Northeast via Colonial Pipeline, and waterborne refined products and crude exports. US Gulf Coast refiners exported 2.7 million b/d of refined products in May, primarily to buyers in Latin America and Europe. USGC refiners regularly export gasoline to Mexico, for instance, and diesel to Europe.
The USGC exported 750,000 b/d of crude in May, according to the EIA. PIRA Energy Group, a unit of S&P Global Platts, estimates Texas' total crude export capacity to be 2.5 million b/d, of which 930,000 b/d is in Corpus Christi/Brownsville and 910,000 b/d is in Greater Houston.
The US Environmental Protection Agency issued temporary waivers for parts of Texas required to use reformulated fuels under the Clear Air Act to ensure ample supplies of gasoline and diesel. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality asked the EPA for waivers for gasoline and diesel in 30 of Texas' 254 counties. The waivers are in effect until September 15 but could be extended.
Magellan Midstream has suspended operations on two long-haul pipelines -- BridgeTex and Longhorn. The two pipelines carry a combined 675,000 b/d of crude from the Permian Basin in Texas to the US Gulf Coast.
Kinder Morgan shut down "select systems" of its 300,000 b/d crude and condensate pipeline in Texas. The shut-in is being implemented on the 250-mile Kinder Morgan Crude and Condensate line.
Colonial Pipeline said it does not expect any operational issues from the incoming storm. Colonial's gasoline-only Line 1 runs from Pasadena, Texas, to Greensboro, North Carolina, where it meets the 1.16 million b/d distillate-carrying Line 2. From there, the 855,000 b/d multi-product Line 3 runs to Linden, New Jersey.
Ports and Terminals
Corpus Christi area ports remained closed Sunday, and so far there are no reported oil spills or damages to storage tanks. The port of Brownsville, located further south on the Texas/Mexico border, reopened.
The four major ports in the Houston-Galveston area complex were closed to all inbound and outbound traffic: Houston, Texas City, Galveston and Freeport. Brazos pilots at Freeport reported some locations were "shoaling" quickly, meaning the port was filling with silt and clay. The water depth is getting lower because silt is being washed into the bay and building up the bottom under the water, the Greater Houston Port Bureau said.
Further north along the Texas coast, pilots on the Sabine Pass and at Port Neches had normal traffic flows.
Phillips 66 suspended operations at its Freeport, Texas, terminal which will impact LPG exports and crude imports. The Freeport Liquefied Petroleum Gas Export Terminal started operations in December and can export 150,000 b/d of LPG to Europe, Latin America and Asia.
NuStar Energy shut down its crude and refined products terminal in Corpus Christi. NuStar's North Beach Terminal at Corpus Christi includes a 1.6 million-barrel crude facility, and 10 storage tanks with a combined capacity of 327,000 barrels for gasoline, distillates, xylene and toluene, and a 72-mile, 15,000 b/d pipeline that carries refined products and chemicals.
Offshore Oil and Gas Production
Offshore operators in the US Gulf of Mexico have shut in more than 378,633 b/d of oil output, 21.64% of total Gulf of Mexico production, and 0.827 Bcf/d of natural gas output, 25.71% of production, according to a US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement survey Sunday. Crude production has recovered a bit from Saturday's 428,568 million b/d outage figure.
Anadarko Petroleum has resumed production at its Constitution, Heidelberg, Holstein and Marco Polo platforms, all located in the central Gulf of Mexico. But Anadarko, in a late Saturday statement, did not say how much of the 113,000 b/d of oil it produced in the US Gulf in the second quarter is accounted for in those four platforms, which are in the Green Canyon area of the Gulf. The company also said it is eying a restart of its Lucius production facility, located further southwest in the lower Keathley Canyon area near Mexican waters.
Onshore Oil and Gas Production
Oil operators have shut in what may amount to hundreds or even thousands of wells in the onshore Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, which sits directly in the path of Harvey. Eagle Ford oil production is currently around 1.34 million b/d, according to Platts Analytics' Bentek Energy.
Onshore shale and unconventionals producer XTO Energy has shut all output in the direct line of Tropical Storm Harvey and evacuated all staff, parent ExxonMobil said late Saturday. The move would likely include operations in the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas, although that could not be immediately confirmed.
BHP Billiton and Murphy Oil shut down all or some Eagle Ford operations. BHP produced nearly 99,000 b/d of oil equivalent from the Eagle Ford in the quarter ended June 30, 2017 which included about 71,000 b/d of liquids and about 166,000 Mcf/d of natural gas. Murphy has two rigs in the Eagle Ford, and produced 46,000 boe/d from the play in the second quarter, 87% of which was liquids.
ConocoPhillips suspended production from the Eagle Ford, where it was producing 161,000 boe/d at the end of 2016, and shut down its six rigs there.