A brutal polar vortex has paralyzed much of Texas.
Three million people are left without power as an extreme cold snap sends power demand to record highs. Energy infrastructure, such as natural gas pipelines have frozen, halting fuel flow to powerplants, resulting in record-high electricity rates. Now we're learning the chaos has spread to the crude complex in the state.
Bloomberg reports Motiva Enterprises will shut down its Port Arthur refinery due to the cold weather. The refinery is North America's largest refinery, with a crude capacity of more than 630,000 barrels a day.
"Unprecedented freezing temperatures necessitated safely and methodically shutting down our Port Arthur Manufacturing Complex. We are carefully monitoring weather conditions and will resume normal operations as soon as it is safe to do so," the company said in a statement.
Reuters reports Chevron Phillips Chemical Co is preparing to shut down its refinery at Pasadena refinery because of the cold weather.
Sources told Reuters, ExxonMobil Beaumont Chemical Plant is planning to shutter operations due to "severe cold weather." ExxonMobil also said it's experiencing operational issues "caused by a winter storm" at its Baton Rouge, Louisiana facility.
What could prompt more refinery closures in Texas and along the gulf could be temperatures this week remaining well below normal.
Over the last 24 hours, hundreds of daily records for cold temperatures were broken as Arctic air pushed all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.
Over the past 24 hours we have absolutely obliterated daily record low temps across the Central US with a blast of #arctic air.— Vince Bryan (@VBryan_wx) February 15, 2021
Deep blue circles = new station record low
Just about every county in the Northern and Central Plains are under a Wind Chill Warning pic.twitter.com/rcR1NH9eXL
WTI crude futures were squeezed above the $60 handle on news of refinery troubles in Texas.