• HURRICANE DELTA GENERATES ONGOING PETROCHEMICAL PRODUCTION DISRUPTIONS

    15 October 2020

    On October 9 at 19:00 local time, Hurricane Delta made landfall as a Category 2 storm in Creole, Louisiana, disrupting regional petrochemical producers. The storm made landfall 13 miles away from the location where Hurricane Laura made landfall on August 27. This further complicated the recovery process for local producers, adding unanticipated setbacks. Reports of property damage are likely to exceed USD 1 billion and are primarily concentrated in the area near the Texas-Louisiana border, spanning from Lafayette to Lake Charles, Louisiana where peak wind gusts of 101 miles per hour were recorded. Sections of Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi all recorded rainfall totals between 6 to 12 inches, with a record of 17.57 inches of rainfall recorded in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.

    Most notably, disruptions to power infrastructure as a result of Hurricane Delta have exceeded those from Hurricane Laura. A total of 850,000 customers are estimated to have lost power at some point, with the majority of outages recorded in Louisiana. At the time of publication, a total of 267,000 customers are known to remain without power in Louisiana, along with 47,000 in Texas and 22,000 in Mississippi.

    Petrochemical producers at various stages of recovery following hurricane impact

    As a result of these conditions, the Resilience360 Risk Intelligence team has recorded a total of 14 chemical and petroleum plants, in addition to 1 pipeline, that were or continue to be impacted (see Figure 1 below). Several of the plants that are still recovering from damages as a result of Hurricane Laura (inducing multiple ongoing Force Majeure declarations) were hit directly by Hurricane Delta 43 days later, likely contributing to their delayed recovery schedules. These companies include Indorama Ventures, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Lotte Chemical, and Lyondellbassel. At this stage, no reports of severe damage have been reported at any major manufacturing facility.

     
    Company Plant Product Status Pre-existing Force Majeure? Known or Anticipated Restart
    Indorama Ventures Port Neches, TX Ethylene, Propylene (various) Power Outage Y
    Sasol Lake Charles, LA Polyethylene (PE) Restarting Y October 12, 2020
    Phillips 66 Lake Charles, LA Petroleum Planned Restart N October 16, 2020
    Total SA Port Arthur, TX Petroleum Restarting N October 13, 2020
    Chevron Phillips Chemical Port Arthur, TX Polyethylene (PE) Power Outage Y
    Westlake Chemical Lake Charles, LA Construction staple polyvinyl chloride, vinyl chloride monomer Restarting Y October 12, 2020
    CITGO Lake Charles, LA Petroleum Assessing Damages N
    Lion Elastomers Orange, TX Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR) Restarting N October 12, 2020
    Lion Elastomers Port Neches, TX Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR) Restarting N October 12, 2020
    INVISTA Chemical Orange, TX Adiponitrile (ADN) Limited Operation N
    Louisiana Pigment Co. Westlake, LA Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) Restarting N October 12, 2020
    Bridgestone Firestone Lake Charles, LA Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR) Shutdown N
    Royal Dutch Shell Convent; Geismar; and Norco, LA Petroleum, Alpha Olefins, Ethylene Glycols Unaffected N
    Colonial Pipeline Line 2 Regional Distillate Fuel Resumed N October 10, 2020
    Lotte Chemical Lake Charles, LA Ethylene Glycol (EG) Shutdown Y
    LyondellBasell Lake Charles, LA Polypropylene (PP) Idle Y

    Figure 1: Overview of facilities with known impacts resulting from Hurricane Delta (as of October 13). Source: Resilience360

    Rapid hurricane intensification yields large precautionary response but little direct impact

    Due to the record-setting intensification observed by Hurricane Delta before landfall in the United States, oil producers broadly enacted precautionary shutdowns and evacuated staff where necessary. In total, 92 percent of overall crude oil production and 62 percent of natural gas output in the Gulf of Mexico were taken offline. Offshore, oil producers shut off the most output capacity on record in the last 15 years. A total of 279 offshore facilities were evacuated and 15 drilling rigs were relocated away from the path of the storm. Offshore oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico produce approximately 15 percent of U.S. crude output and 5 percent of U.S. natural gas output.

    Fortunately, most oil and natural gas operations were not permanently damaged  by the storm, and logistics infrastructure was quickly restored, enabling production to resume.

    Widespread port and rail disruptions subside quickly

    Major port and rail operators also took steps to protect people and assets in anticipation of the storm. At this stage, the most critical outstanding impact on logistics are draft restrictions on the Calcasieu Waterway in Louisiana, preventing transit by LNG tankers. Additional infrastructural impact are listed in Figure 2.

     
    Infrastructure Impact
    Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport Multiple cancellations October 9-10
    Calcasieu Waterway (Lake Charles) Ongoing draft restrictions prevent LNG tanker traffic
    Houston Ship Channel, TX Cargo operations suspended October 8
    New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Halted October 7-10 by flood gate closure
    New Orleans Rail Interchanges Halted October 7-10 by flood gate closure
    Port Fourchon, LA Closed October 8-9
    Port of Corpus Christi, TX Vessel boarding suspended on October 9
    Port of New Orleans, LA Closed October 9
    Sabine-Neches Waterway (Port Arthur, Port of Beaumont) Closed from October 8; minor draft restrictions during recovery

    Figure 2: Overview of logistics infrastructure with known impacts resulting from Hurricane Delta (as of October 13). Source: Resilience360

    In Louisiana, multiple tractor-trailer crashes due to dangerous driving conditions were reported on Interstate 10 on October 9, resulting in significant roadway disruption. Due to flooding and downed trees, widespread road closures were reported in the immediate aftermath of the storm in the Parishes of Vermilion, Cameron, Calcasieu Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Mary, and St. Landry. In Lilburn, Georgia, 38 cars of a CSX freight train derailed and several caught fire on October 11 in an accident that was attributed to heavy rains from Hurricane Delta, triggering a local evacuation.

    Overall, impacts from Hurricane Delta are now subsiding. Supply chain managers should continue to monitor the recovery on the Sabine-Neches waterway if necessary, in addition to ongoing power outages that may be disrupting local supplier operations. In retrospect, Hurricane Delta may in fact be remembered as an exemplary weather event in which local manufacturers took extra precautions to minimize impact.

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