Texas industrial injury lawyers discuss Hurricane Harvey’s damage to Gulf Coast refining and chemical operations in Texas and Louisiana.
Refinery Shutdowns Cause Nearly 25 Percent Drop In Production
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, 23 percent of U.S. refining capacity has been temporarily lost. That amounts to 4.2 million barrels of oil per day.
Even under optimal conditions, it will take weeks for refineries to return to full operation.
Gas Prices Surge
As of August 30, 2017, gasoline prices have surged six percent as Hurricane Harvey has forced one quarter of U.S. refining capacity offline. Prices are now at a two-year high.
Motiva Port Arthur Refinery Shut Down
The largest refinery in the United States is the Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. Hurricane Harvey forced a complete shutdown of the facility.
The refinery began ramping down production in the days leading up to the hurricane. As of Tuesday, August 29, 2017, the refinery was operating at only 40 percent capacity.
The entire refinery was later shut down as Hurricane Harvey made its second landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border on Wednesday.
Port Arthur’s mayor, Derrick Freeman, told followers on Facebook that “Our whole city is underwater right now but we are coming! If you called, we are coming. Please get to higher ground if you can . . .”
Exxon’s Baytown Refinery Damaged
The ExxonMobil refinery near Baytown, Texas was damaged by Hurricane Harvey, and Exxon warned that chemicals might be released into the air as a result.
Exxon declined to give full details regarding the extent of the damage, but acknowledged that a roof at the Baytown facility “partially sank” as a result of the storm.
At Least 10 Refineries Shut Down Because of Harvey
By late Sunday, August 27, 2017, refineries owned by Exxon, Citgo, Petrobras, Flint Hills, Magellan, Buckeye, Shell, Phillips 66 and Valero Energy had all closed.
The list of refineries and other Gulf Coast oil and gas facilities affected by Hurricane Harvey includes:
2. Citgo’s Lake Charles, Louisiana Refinery
3. ExxonMobil’s Baytown, Texas Refinery and Chemical Plant
4. ExxonMobil’s Beaumont, Texas Refinery, Chemicals Plant, and Lube Plant
5. Flint Hills (Koch Industries)’s Corpus Christi, Texas East and West Refineries
6. Flint Hills (Koch Industries)’s Port Arthur, Texas Aromatics Plant
7. LyondellBassell’s Houston, Texas Refinery, which is suffering from “logical constraints” in the Houston Ship Channel
8. Motiva’s Port Arthur, Texas Refinery
9. Petrobras Refinery In Pasadena, Texas
10. Phillips 66 Refinery in Sweeny, Texas
11. Phillips 66 Freeport, Texas Terminal
12. Phillips 66’s Lake Charles, Louisiana Refinery
13. Marathon Petroleum’s Galveston Bay, Texas Refinery
14. Marathon’s Texas City Refinery
15. Royal Dutch Shell’s Deer Park, Texas Manufacturing Site
16. Valero’s Corpus Christi (Bill Greehey), Texas Refineries
17. Valero’s Texas City Refinery
18. Valero’s Three Rivers, Texas Refinery
Personnel issues are predicted to impede restart efforts, as thousands of workers and contractors have likely lost their homes, or are unable to return to work because of the storm.
As just one example, the Shell refinery alone has more than 3,000 employees and contractors who perform its important and oftentimes dangerous work.
Port of Corpus Christi Shut Down
The Port of Christi was indefinitely shut down while a 450 foot drillship brook free of its mooring during Harvey, and breached the Port’s entrance to the Gulf of Mexico. The drill ship, DPDS1, is owned by Paragon Offshore.
The drillship sunk a tugboat.
The Port cannot be re-opened until the Army Corps of Engineers approves its condition. The port moves $100 million worth of goods every day.
Jones Act Implications of Hurricane Harvey
Houston is the beginning of the “Colonial Pipeline” which moves gasoline, heating oil, and jet fuel from southern refineries north throughout the U.S.
With refining capacity down, Jones Act tankers may be utilized to transport petroleum products around the United States.
Dangers Of Refinery Restarts
When refining facilities and chemical plants are restarted, oftentimes important safety procedures and precautions are overlooked or ignored.
In the past, plant restart errors have caused dangerous explosions, electrocutions, fires, dropped objects, and environmental releases.
Plant and refinery workers frequently suffer burns, head injuries, neck and back injuries, and other physical harm as a result.
Deaths Caused By Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey has killed at least 17 people and injured countless others.
As one example, an employee at the Omni Hotel in Houston was apparently killed while helping to evacuate guests and workers.
It has been reported that the hotel has a history of flooding, and it is not known whether the company evacuated in a timely manner.
Refinery Injury Lawyers In Texas
If you or a loved one is hurt during a refinery restart or other industrial accident, please contact our work injury lawyers for a free consultation to preserve your legal rights.
We can be reached 24/7 at our toll free number, 1-800-489-2216, or through the contact form on our website.