Category Archives: Harvey Recovery Faster Than Katrina

Did Oil and Gas Pass ‘Unprecedented’ Weather Test?

 Issue 111 – Refineries and oil storage flooded by Harvey August 30, 2017

Introduction…August 27 Hurricane Harvey pummeled Texas described by the National Weather Service as ‘unprecedented.’  This hurricane delivered torrential rainfall that was ‘unknown’ and ‘beyond any experience.’

The severity of the storm damage to the oil and gas industry of Houston and along the coast was unknown.

Valero Energy and Motiva, a Saudi Aramco subsidiary, experienced flood waters around storage tanks looking like serious and lasting damage.

Three weeks later it was apparent that lessons learned from Katrina and Rita in 2005 made operations recovery much quicker.

Harvey’s impact was considerable but short-lived.  At the point of greatest disruptions, August 29, about 3.9 million b/d of refining was offline.  Additionally, 1.5 million b/d experienced reduced capacity.

Just 17 days later, the impact was minimal with only three refineries with combined capacity of 325,000 b/d remained offline.  Another 1.4 million b/d was starting up and only 2.3 million b/d was operating below maximum output.

In conclusion...The industry was able to reassure the world, that it faced the unprecedented challenge of Harvey, and weathered the storm.

Source: Ed Crooks, “How US oil and gas passed the test of ‘unprecedented’ weather,” Financial Times, 16 Sept 2017.

Harvey Recovery Faster Due To Changes After Karina

Issue 110 – First Corpus Christi Refinery Online

Introduction...Many changes have been made since the 2005 Hurricane Katrina tore though east Texas and Louisiana where 25% of the nation’s refinery is located.  This was reported on a September teleconference reported by the American Petroleum Institute.

Harvey’s damage…400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production was offline to refineries and gas processing.  Ports and terminals are mostly open.  That is more important now than after Katrina because the U.S. is a major exporter of crude and oil products.

Pipelines, which are critical are mostly back to capacity including Colonial and Explorer Pipelines.

There has also been fewer electricity outages than during Katrina, an important element of refining.

Improvements…Government response has improved, noted Robert McNally, a fellow at Columba University.

The federal government understands that oil is the life-blood of a modern society.  Restoration of supplies and transportation came quickly after Harvey, McNally said.

In conclusion…“We definitely were better prepared. We appreciated the need to deal with all of the energy aspects that we identified during Katrina, but also communication between state and federal authorities seems to have gone better this time,” said Guy Caruso who previously lead the US Energy Information Agency.

Source: Nick Snow, “Changes since Katrina made post-Harvey recovery better,” Oil and Gas Journal, 8 September 2017.