As water levels drop in the areas hardest hit by tropical storm Harvey, the focus has turned to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the storm who require shelter, food, and help getting their lives back together. That is as it should be.
At the same time, the oil and gas industry of south and east Texas continues to inspect facilities and begin the process of restarting production facilities, refineries, and transportation operations, including both pipelines and ports.
The U.S. Department of Energy DoE) on Saturday posted its latest update on recovery efforts in the energy industry and several oil and gas companies have also posted their own updates. We’ll run through those briefly here.
BP PLC (NYSE: BP) said that its headquarters offices in Houston will be closed until further notice. All four of BP’s production platforms in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico continue to operate, as do BP’s Texas City Chemical plant south of Houston and onshore oil and gas production sites in south and east Texas. The company said it is “working to minimize disruptions” from refinery outages and the partial closure of the Colonial pipeline that carries gasoline and other refined products to the east coast of the United States.
Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) reported on Friday that operations at its Corpus Christi (293,000 barrels a day) and Three Rivers (89,000 barrels a day) refineries continues to ramp up. The company’s Port Arthur refinery is being checked for damage. The refinery at Texas City is operating at full capacity and output from Houston is expected to increase as transportation infrastructure becomes more accessible.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) reported Saturday that a review of its massive Baytown complex “revealed the need for only minor repairs” and the company said it is progressing well toward restarting the plant. Transportation issues remain until the Houston ship channel opens, and there are pipeline and railroad issues as well. The Beaumont complex has experienced some flooding and remains shut down. The company’s affected offshore production platforms are being checked for damage before production resumes. Onshore natural gas production that was shut-in is also being checked before restarting.
Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) said on Saturday that its operated Pasadena refined products terminal resumed truck loading and diesel loading is set to begin Sunday. Activities at the Mont Belvieu fractionator has been suspended due to a lack of available storage at the Mont Belvieu hub. The company is checking its Sweeny refinery (247,000 barrels a day) for damage and making repairs before resuming operations.
The U.S. DoE reported on Saturday that seven refineries have begun the restart process. These seven refineries have a combined capacity of 1.53 million barrels a day. Four other refineries with a combined capacity of 1.34 million barrels a day are operating at reduced rates.
The DoE crews are examining the Colonial pipeline before restarting. Currently Colonial operations in Texas are shut down but the pipeline continues operations east from Lake Charles, Louisiana. Service from Houston is expected to begin Sunday. Half of the 26 refineries that connect to the Colonial pipeline are located between Houston and Lake Charles.
The DoE reports contain much more detail and can be found here.