Argus Media Limited

09/13/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/13/2021 11:37

Texas refineries, terminals brace for storm

US crude export terminals and refineries in Corpus Christi, Texas, are bracing for tropical storm Nicholas, which is expected to make landfall later today.

The Corpus Christi area is the top hub for exporting US crude and also home to three large refineries. The US Coast Guard shut inbound traffic into Corpus Christi and other Texas ports today as the storm headed toward the area.

Moda Midstream shut marine operations at its crude export terminal at Ingleside near Corpus Christi. Marine operations at the Moda Ingleside Energy Center 'have been deferred,' the company told Argus today. The terminal has 15.6mn bl of storage capacity and can export up to 1.5mn b/d of crude.

NuStar Energy, which operates the North Beach crude terminal in Corpus Christi, is monitoring the storm but does not plan to shut any pipeline operations or terminals at this time, the company said today. NuStar has implemented its emergency action plans which could be adjusted as needed.

Magellan Midstream, which owns a large terminal and condensate splitter in Corpus Christi, said its assets along the Texas Gulf coast were operating normally.

Citgo, operator of a 157,500 b/d refinery in Corpus Christi, was monitoring the storm closely amid wet conditions in the northeastern coast of Mexico and the coast of south Texas this morning. Citgo has procedures in place to ensure the safety of its employees and surrounding community while providing a continuous supply of product to customers and emergency responders, the company said.

The other two large refineries in Corpus Christi are Valero's 200,000 b/d facility and Flint Hills Resources' 260,000 b/d refinery.

Phillips 66 has activated hurricane preparedness plans for its assets in Texas and Louisiana based on the expected path of the storm, including its 247,000 b/d refinery in Sweeny, Texas.

In the offshore, Shell moved some non-essential personnel from its Perdido platform in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico as a precautionary measure.

The Texas ports of Corpus Christi, Freeport, Houston, Galveston and Texas City closed to inbound traffic at 12pm ET today. The US Coast Guard set the ports to status Yankee, meaning gale force winds are expected within 24 hours.

The storm is expected to make landfall later this evening near Matagorda Bay on the Texas coast as a strong tropical storm but could develop into a hurricane by the time it makes landfall, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A hurricane watch was in effect this morning from Port Aransas in the Corpus Christi area to San Luis Pass in Lake Jackson, Texas.

As Nicholas continues north and moves inland, forecasters predict heavy rains for other Texas cities, including Freeport, Houston and Galveston.

The storm comes about two weeks after Hurricane Ida hit the coast of Louisiana, causing significant disruptions to offshore oil and gas production and refinery operations.

By Eunice Bridges and Dylan Chase