Sept 14 Reuters - The second U.S. fuel line shut down on Tuesday because of power outages caused by Nicholas, which made landfall as a hurricane before weakening in the first nuclear storm in two weeks.
Rains, flooding and power outages were affecting Texas and Louisiana, who were still trying to recover from Hurricane Ida, which knocked most U.S. Gulf offshore oil and gas production offline. Constant power outages in the Houston area caused Colonial to preemptively shut down its main fuel and distillate fuel lines, the company announced in a notice to shippers.
Nicholas was about 10 miles 15 km southeast of Houston by 1400 GMT Central Time, heading northeast with maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour 75 kilometers per hour said National Hurricane Center NHC in a bulletin.
The storm caused widespread power outages as it crossed over the Houston metropolitan area late on Monday and early Tuesday morning. In Texas, roughly 485,000 customers lost power or power to the power plant.
Colonial produces roughly 2.5 million barrels of refined products a day to some of the busiest U.S. fuel markets, mainly in Southeast and East Coast. The line was also restarted during Ida, but closed again a few days after the storm landed without incident.
More than 40% of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico's oil and gas output remained offline on Monday, two weeks after Hurricane Ida in Louisiana, according to the offshore regulator Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement BSEE Shell, which saw significant damage to facilities in Louisiana, shut production at its Perdido oil platform due to heavy winds on Monday night and was ready to resume once a downstream facility restored power by a third party. The company planned no plans to return employees in the facility to the facility on Tuesday.
Some 14 inches of rain fell in Houston, while Galveston got almost six inches down there overnight and into the morning, reports the National Weather Service. Nicholas, which landed in Gulf Coast, had a much less pronounced effect than Ida on Texas refining capacity.
Most Texas refiners opened on Tuesday. Motiva Enterprises' 607,000 barrel-per day bpd Port Arthur, Texas refinery - the largest in the United States - was operating normally as Nicholas passed over the area on Monday morning, said sources familiar with plant operations.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc's 302,800 bpd joint venture Deer Park, Texas refinery was also operational on Tuesday, as was Exxon's Baytown and Beaumont refineries.
Houston-area company CenterPoint Energy Inc said on Tuesday that about 400,000 homes and businesses in its Texas service territory were without power.
Vessel traffic was idle in the Calcasieu Ship Channel and the Houston Ship Channel on Tuesday morning. However, the ports of Houston, Freeport, Galveston and Texas City were open with restrictions according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Some shippers expect the restrictions set by Texas and Louisiana ports while Daniel Passing will add to ongoing import and export delays from Ida.