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Tropical Storm Beryl approaches the Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico in a composite satellite image July 7, 2024. NOAA/Handout via REUTERS

Tropical Storm Beryl approaches the Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico in a composite satellite image July 7, 2024. NOAA/Handout via REUTERS

Texas Energy Industry Braces for Beryl as Hurricane Makes Landfall

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July 8, 2024

By Erwin Seba and Arathy Somasekhar

HOUSTON, July 8 (Reuters) – The Texas energy industry braced for Hurricane Beryl’s impact on Monday, with threats from the powerful storm forcing the closure of key oil and gas shipping ports, slowing refining and prompting the evacuation of some production sites. 

Beryl, which made landfall near Matagorda, Texas, packing maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (129 kilometers an hour), is posing problems for the heart of the country’s energy sector. 

Located about 85 miles south-southwest of Houston, Texas, the storm’s center was forecast to move over eastern Texas on Monday, before passing over the Lower Mississippi Valley into the Ohio Valley later in the week, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Texas produces the most oil and natural gas, or more than 40% and 20%, respectively, of any area of the United States.

On Monday morning, almost 490,000 homes and businesses were without power in Texas, according to Texas-based electric utility CenterPoint said in an email on Sunday that it was “closely monitoring the situation and making preparations.”

A flash flood warning was issued for several counties in southeastern Texas including in Houston, where many U.S. energy companies are headquartered, due to thunderstorms producing up to 6 inches of rain, and 2-4 more inches were expected.

Over the weekend, the port of Corpus Christi, the country’s leading crude oil export hub, closed operations and vessel traffic in preparation for Beryl. The ports of Houston, Galveston, Freeport and Texas City were also shut ahead of the storm making landfall. 

Chemical company Chemours Co CC.N said on Sunday that it was prepared to adjust staffing and secure equipment during the storm and after it passed, while Freeport LNG said it had its hurricane preparedness plan in place. 

Enbridge Inc ENB.TO, which runs crude oil export facilities near Corpus Christi, also said it had activated emergency plans for assets along or near the U.S. Gulf Coast. 

Citgo Petroleum Corp, meanwhile, was reducing production over the weekend at its 165,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery, sources said.

Marathon Petroleum said it had comprehensive plans in place to protect staff, assets and communities during severe weather, but declined to comment on its 585,000-bpd Galveston Bay refinery operations.

LyondellBasell declined to comment on the status of its 268,000-bpd Houston refinery.

Shell and Chevron shut in production or evacuated personnel from their Gulf of Mexico offshore platforms.

Beryl was forecast to have a steady to rapid weakening as its center moved inland, the NHC said.

(Reporting by Marriana Paragga, Erwin Seba, Arathy Somaasekhar; Additional reporting by Kavya Balaraman in Bengaluru; Writing by Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Bernadette Baum and Chizu Nomiyama)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2024.

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