Hurricane Harvey blew through the Corpus Christi and Houston areas over last weekend, causing widespread flooding and a much needed moment to bring the nation together for a good cause. If you haven’t seen pictures of the extensive damage and flooding across Texas’ largest city, Houston, please take a look. It’s eye opening to see how catastrophic Harvey was for the cities infrastructure, especially many civilian’s homes. Thankfully, many American notables have already decided to stand up in the face of the crisis. Rockstar comedian Kevin Hart donated $25,000 to Red Cross relief efforts and challenged other celebrity friends across the internet on Sunday to do the same.
While hurricane relief efforts are the center of media attention right now, as they ought to be, Harvey brought devastation to more than just our beloved friends and family down South. Unfortunately for the energy sector, especially oil and gas, the hurricane landed smack dab in the middle of the United State’s energy capital: Houston. While the storm made landfall in Corpus Christi, which houses many oil and gas refining centers, operators from the area should be relieved they were only forced to stop production for the next week.
The real problem is that Houston-area refineries will be shutdown for the currently foreseeable future due to large-scale damage caused by flooding throughout the city. Waist high level water in some areas will prevent transportation for some time, while maintenance issues from the storm will be delayed even further due to the travel dilemma. To paint the picture of Harvey’s coming impact on the energy sector whole, we need only to look back to past hurricane pressure. Hurricanes Ike and Katrina caused refinery utilization to drop by large margins before and during the storms. But these drops were without substantial flooding in one of the nation’s largest refinery areas.
Before all is said and done, Harvey may be remembered as not just a tragedy, but one of the largest influences on the american energy sector in decades.
Written by: Chris Stomberg