US Gulf Coast Warned of Tropical Storms and Hurricanes, Petrochemical Industry Likely to be Affected
- Journalist: Robert Hume
A tropical storm warning has been posted on Thursday for the U.S. coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle as the weather system strengthened in the Gulf of Mexico and marched towards north, according to the National Hurricane Centre. Forecasters are expecting that the storm will be making the landfall in the early morning hours of Saturday and produce strong winds and heavy rain along a wide area of the coast. The warning of the tropical storm is in effect from Intracoastal City, La., to the Alabama-Florida border including Lake Maurepas, Lake Pontchartrain, and metropolitan New Orleans.
The North American Petrochemical Industry can be disrupted by the tropical storms and hurricanes as the various plants and refineries of the nation are in the states of Texas and Louisiana along the US Gulf Coast. According to the US Energy Information Agency (EIA), the Gulf of Mexico federal offshore natural gas production reports 5% of total US dry production and federal offshore oil production in the Gulf reports 17% of total US crude oil production. The storm can even disrupt oil and natural gas supplies as companies often clear US Gulf platforms as a precaution. Over 51% of total US processing plant capacity of natural gas and 45% of total US processing plant capacity of petroleum is located along the Gulf coast. Due to winter storms, logistical constraints and busy hurricane season of 2020, the market of petrochemicals is already tight.
The flood gates could be closed in the state, if the storm makes landfall in southern Louisiana. The prevention of interchange between railroad companies with eastern carriers are seen when the flood gates get closed which would cause delays in shipments through rail. The petrochemical complexes could also be disrupted in the area due to power shut down by the storm.
According to the researchers of Colorado State University (CSU), a busy hurricane season is being forecasted with prediction on the number of named storms to 18. As predicted, out of those 4 could be major hurricanes and eight could become hurricanes. According to the prediction of US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Atlantic Hurricane season will be 60% above normal although the historic level of storm activity is not taken in consideration in 2020.