Hurricane Laura severely impacts US oil and gas exports

28 August 2020 (Last Updated August 28th, 2020 12:15)

The US oil and gas exports have been severely interrupted by Hurricane Laura, which bore down on the Gulf of Mexico and closed most of the oil production in the region.

Hurricane Laura severely impacts US oil and gas exports
Hurricane Marco (left) and Tropical Storm Laura (right) on 23 August. Credit: Nasa.

The US oil and gas exports have been severely interrupted by Hurricane Laura, which bore down on the Gulf of Mexico and closed most of the oil production in the region.

Approximately 1Mbpd of crude exports lowered this week due to closures of the Gulf Coast terminals and ports, Reuters reported.

On 27 August, Hurricane Laura raced towards the heart of the US oil industry in Louisiana and Texas. It is considered as one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the Texas-Louisiana border.

It had hit the area with winds of 240km/h, knocking down trees, damaging buildings and causing widespread power outages.

The US energy industry had reduced crude production of 1.56Mbpd, which accounted for 83% of the Gulf crude oil production.

Crude oil export hub Port of Houston prepared to reopen for commercial shipping yesterday (27 August).

Nine refineries capable of converting 2.9Mbpd of oil into fuel were also shut down ahead of the storm.

According to the US Coast Guard, ports of Lake Charles, Beaumont and Port Arthur remained idle on 27 August.

Reuters cited data intelligence firm Kpler as saying that the shutting of these ports would result in a total reduction of 830,000bpd in ‘refined product’ departures.

There was also a delay in the loadings of LNG cargoes from the US.

In a separate statement, Venture Global said that its Calcasieu Pass LNG facility, currently under construction in Louisiana, was not significantly impacted by the storm.

American oil major ExxonMobil was also ready to restart units at its plant in Beaumont, Texas.

On 25 August, the US energy industry prepared for a major hurricane strike, cutting crude production at a rate of 1.56Mbpd, which accounted for 84% of the Gulf crude oil production. The production was evacuated at 310 offshore facilities.