Hurricane Harvey made its initial landfall on August 25 in Rockport, TX, less than 30 miles outside of critical crude markets in Corpus Christi, TX. The hurricane has had widespread impacts on the Texas Gulf Coast refining complex, with Corpus Christi the first to experience the full force of the storm. More than a week after landfall, facilities have begun to resume operations, marking the beginning of a long road to recovery.
Corpus Christi facilities were the first to encounter Hurricane Harvey onshore. All Corpus Christi refineries, totaling more than 750,000 barrels per day (bpd) of refining capacity, began shutting down August 24 in preparation for the hurricane. Valero’s 100,000 bpd Three Rivers, TX, facility also shut on August 25 due to the storm. Restart activities were observed as early as August 30, according to Genscape's North American Refinery Intelligence service.
Flint Hills began restarting its 60,000 bpd East and 230,000 bpd West Corpus Christi facilities on August 30 with its crude section online by August 31. Valero's 100,000 bpd Three Rivers facility also started ramping up on August 30, but none of the units were fully in-service as of September 4. The restart of Valero's 115,000 bpd East and 210,000 bpd West Corpus Christi facilities started September 1, and several units including the crude section, catalytic reformer, and fluid catalytic reformer were restarted by September 5. Units at Citgo's 165,000 bpd Corpus Christi refinery began restarting on September 2 with the crude section fully restarted on September 4.
Production shut-ins began as early as August 23 as the then-Tropical Storm passed over crude production regions in the Gulf of Mexico, and as many as 105 platforms were evacuated. Approximately 100,000 bpd of Gulf of Mexico oil production was shut-in as of September 5, after as much as 300,000 bpd was shut-in on August 28. South Texas oil production was also impacted, with an estimated 70,000 bpd shut in as of September 5 and as much as 700,000 bpd was shut in on August 28, according a Hurricane Analysis report included in Genscape's North American Crude Oil Production Forecast.
With refineries and production down, pipeline flows into Corpus Christi began to shut on August 24. All Genscape-monitored pipeline flows (Gardendale, Double Eagle, Rio Bravo, and NuStar - Three Rivers to Corpus Christi) remained shut August 28. The 100,000 bpd Double Eagle, 250,000 bpd Gardendale, and 38,000 bpd NuStar pipelines were restarted on August 29, while the 100,000 bpd Rio Bravo line returned to service on August 30.
Waterborne transit was also closed due to the storm. The U.S. Coast Guard reopened the Corpus Christi Ship Channel on August 31 after a record-long closure beginning on August 24, a release from the port said.
Corpus Christi is home to more than 22 million (mn) barrels (bbls) of operational crude storage capacity. Nearly 15mn bbls of capacity is located at storage terminals, while refinery storage accounts for the remaining 7mn bbls. Total capacity utilization in Corpus Christi was just below 50 percent week ending August 25.
Total motor gasoline rack demand in Corpus Christi on August 24 jumped 58 percent over the previous day as residents commenced hurricane preparations. Gasoline rack loadings in the area then plummeted 95 percent across the next two days as obstructed roads hampered demand. Loadings have since rebounded, remaining higher than pre-hurricane levels between August 28 and September 3, according to Genscape's Supply Side Analyst data.
Corpus Christi markets have taken large steps toward restabilization, as evidenced by refinery unit restarts, production recovery, pipeline flow resumptions, and rebounding gasoline demand. However, the scope of storm impacts reaches far beyond Corpus Christi. Reaching a full recovery will be a gradual process that will take weeks or months. Genscape will continue to monitor and report on the supply chain impacts of Hurricane Harvey as events unfold.
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