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Hurricane Beryl Shuts Down Texas Energy Ports

July 9 ------ Hurricane Beryl made its third landfall near Matagorda, Texas on Monday morning, delivering high winds and torrential rain to America's biggest oil and gas-producing region. Two people were killed by falling trees, adding to the storm's previous death toll in Venezuela, Grenada, Jamaica and St. Vincent. The heavy weather also forced a shutdown at busy energy ports like Corpus Christi, the largest crude oil export port in the United States.


In advance of Beryl's arrival, the U.S. Coast Guard declared Port Condition Zulu (closed) at Houston, Galveston, Freeport and Texas City on Sunday afternoon. The order required vessels to cease transits and cargo operations within the ports, and to take measures to ensure secure mooring arrangements.


As of Monday morning, the Port of Corpus Christi had transitioned back to a post-storm recovery status, and the Corpus Christi Ship Channel had reopened. The Intracoastal Waterway and La Quinta Channel have also resumed navigation.


Port of Galveston's harbor and  port operations remained closed as of Monday. The port said that flooding due to storm surge and rain still impede access and block roadways in and around the port, and the power remains out. The port authority plans to reassess the impact when conditions allow.


Beryl continued to dump rain across the Houston metro area on Monday morning as it moved inland. At 1600 hours, Port Houston announced that its normally-busy terminals will be closed through Tuesday, and that port staff will send a later update about the possibility of reopening on Wednesday after making an assessment.


At the port of Freeport, the giant liquefaction plant at Freeport LNG ramped down gas intake and production in advance of the storm. Gas intake at the nation's third-largest LNG export terminal remained near zero on Monday, according to energy tracking firm LSEG. Freeport has not provided a firm update on its restart timeline, but it told Reuters over the weekend that it would resume full-rate operation when safe to do so.


Shell and Chevron also evacuated offshore oil and gas platforms in the storm's path, several days before Beryl's arrival. Shell began shutting in production and evacuating personnel at the Perdido platform as early as last Wednesday. The timeline for resuming full operations has not yet been announced. Most of Chevron's operations were unaffected, but it did remove personnel from its Anchor project, which is in commissioning and has not yet begun producing.


As of Monday, 2.7 million Texas customers were without power, including most residents of Galveston Island. The storm continues to move across east Texas, with reduced but still-powerful winds of up to 40 knots. It is expected to transit over the Mississippi and into the Ohio Valley by midweek.



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