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Some refineries along the Gulf Coast are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Dorian, which is currently moving towards the Florida coast, where it is expected to make landfall this weekend, Reuters reports.
Next week, the hurricane could continue into the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico.
One of the facilities that are keeping close watch on Dorian’s movement is Chevron’s 356,440-barrel refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
“Pascagoula is following hurricane procedures and paying close attention to the track and forecast of the storm,” a Chevron spokesman told Reuters.
In Louisiana, on the other hand, all is quiet for now. Refineries there are operating as usual with no active preparations among its operators ahead of Dorian’s landfall.
In its latest update as of the writing of this story, the National Hurricane Center issued a warning of “life-threatening storm surge” along parts of the Florida coast as well as increasingly fast hurricane-force winds threatening the east coast of Florida and the Panhandle.
Earlier today, CNN reported that Hurricane Dorian will reach Florida as a Category 4 storm, with wind speeds reaching 130 mph. This would make it the strongest storm since Hurricane Andrew, which hit Florida in 1992.
Although there were forecasts of a quieter hurricane season this year compared to last, oil and gas producers in the Gulf have already had to shutter production on a number of rigs once, ahead of Storm Barry. The tropical storm shut in more than 1 million bpd in oil production, which was more than 50 percent of the Gulf’s production capacity in U.S. waters.
The Gulf of Mexico accounts for some 17 percent of U.S. oil production. Last year, hurricane Michael shut in production of more than 700,000 bpd for a few days. The year before, however, hurricane season was a lot more devastating: total losses for the oil industry—production and refining—hit US$200 billion, which became the highest storm bill in history.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.