As people started to panic last Thursday, August 31 about a gas shortage, all 80 gas pumps in Devine were full with customers waiting in line by 3:30 pm. By that night, every gas station in town was out of gas, except for one station which held back fuel for emergency personnel.
“I’ve never seen it run out of gas here in Devine, and I’ve lived here about 75 years,” said Devine resident Nuggie DuBose as he filled up his truck this past Thursday.
People were racing to get to the pumps in Devine, Castroville, Lytle and Natalia, and most stations did eventually run out of gas due to what Texas Railroad Commisioner Ryan Sitton described as, “people trying to get their hands on every gallon they can.”
Some residents in Devine even reported seeing drivers filling up ice chests with gas.
In Devine, on press day, Tuesday, September 6, several downtown stations were still out of gas, while those along the highway, have been filled and re-filled over the past few days. Super Mart was the first to run out of gas this past Wednesday, and panic ensued the next day as people started realizing gas was going fast.
However, Sitton has spoken out, assuring Texans that there isn’t a gas shortage in the US….
“There is not a gasoline shortage in the United States. There is a logistics issue,” he said. “In the US today, there are 230 million barrels of gasoline in inventory…in storage.”
The 15 refineries that are either down or at reduced capacity, has reduced the amount of gasoline production by only 2 million barrels of gasoline a day, according to Commissioner Sitton.
“The big issue is people trying to get their hands on every gallon they can…..Even if all the refineries were running right now, we’d still be having this issue, due to the rush of people buying gas.”
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“In my neighborhood 1/3 of the houses were flooded and it was hard to get out. There might be some gas stations down there that trucks can’t get to to refuel, so there might be pockets where there are gasoline shortages,” Sitton said. “Your neighborhood gas station may take a few days because they happen to be part of a supply network that’s really over-stripped…..but if I’m willing to drive 3 or 4 miles I can find some gasoline…..As a region, there may be pockets that take a few days, but this is not going to be a long term issue.”
“Every gas station in Texas is refilled by a truck on regular intervals…. For example, if a gas station usually gets 100,000 gallons every 10 days, then that’s the schedule they are on….So, if ten times as many people go to a gas station today, then the next scheduled truck would have been in ten days.”
Last Thursday, an employee at a local gas station in Devine stated it could be a week before more fuel arrives at thier station, but we have yet to confirm a time frame with other sources.
Hurricane Harvey has forced some of the largest refineries in the country to shut down, resulting in reduced fuel-making capacity. This past Wednesday, the largest oil refinery closed in Port Arthur in response to increasing flooding conditions. Several refineries have begun the restart process.
This week, the Texas Railroad Commission noted that fuel could be an issue for a week or so in a press release sent to us, depending on rain conditions across affected areas.
He also released the following statement:
“With a catastrophic storm of the size and magnitude of Harvey, there are the unavoidable infrastructure challenges as we enter the recovery phase of the storm. As the water recedes and power is being restored, the state’s fuel production and distribution system is being systematically and safely restored. This process will not be immediate at all facilities, but the men and women of the oil and natural gas industry are working around the clock to stabilize the fuel supply chain.
“Fuel supply shortages in some areas have been exacerbated because normal buying habits have changed. Consumers returning to their routine buying habits – recognizing that they need fuel for a few days and not a few weeks – will be a great help as the system is being brought back fully online. According to Federal Emergency Management Agency, consumers should maintain regular buying habits for their vehicles, which can help alleviate a sudden surge in demand.
“Railroad Commission staff is working overtime to help where we can, and we will continue communicating and working with other stakeholders to ensure the safe distribution, reliable accessibility, and affordable price of gasoline in the State of Texas.”
On last, Wednesday, August 30, Texas Food and Fuel had reported:
They reported 287,000+ power outages, and 15 refineries shut down.
Electricity Sector Impacts (as of 7:30 AM EDT)
AEP Texas is the most significantly impacted utility. AEP estimates 95% of outages in Corpus Christi area will be restored by late Wednesday and expects 95% of outages restored for most other areas by Saturday.
Six refineries in the Corpus Christi area, seven in the Houston/Galveston area, and two in the Beaumont/Port Arthur area were shut down. Five refineries in the Gulf Coast region are operating at reduced rates.
On Thursday, August 31, 2017, The U.S. Department of Energy has released a public statement regarding Petroleum Reserve draw-down authorization:
“In response to the impacts from Hurricane Harvey, the U.S. Secretary of Energy has authorized the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to negotiate and execute an emergency exchange agreement with the Phillips 66 Lake Charles Refinery. This decision will authorize 200,000 barrels of sweet crude oil and 300,000 barrels of sour crude oil to be drawn down from SPR’s West Hackberry site and delivered via pipeline to the Phillips 66 refinery. The Department will continue to provide assistance as deemed necessary, and will continue to review incoming requests for SPR crude oil. Should the Secretary decide to approve additional requests for an emergency exchange of crude oil from the SPR, the public will be notified.”
Refineries ramp up, restarting
By Jesus Azanza
Monday, September 4, 2017
Texas Food and Fuel
As of Monday afternoon, U.S. Gulf Coast oil refinery restarts and ramp-ups underway in the region’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey represented processing capacity of 3.143 million b/d, which exceeded the 2.269 million b/d of crude processing capacity still shut, according to OPIS estimates.
At the peak impact point of the storm’s several-day flooding assault along the Texas coastline and regions just inland, the crude capacity at 20 refineries in Texas and Louisiana idled stood at 5.2 million b/d, or 27% of total U.S. operable processing.
Grouped by operations/recovery status, the breakdown of the 20 affected
refineries looks like this:
(crude capacities given in barrels per stream day)
RETURNED TO OPERATIONS:
Valero Texas City 231,000 b/d
Valero Corpus Christi 300,000
Sub-total: 531,000 b/d
RAMPING UP/ RESTARTING:
Valero Three Rivers 91,000 b/d
Valero Houston 197,000
CITGO Lake Charles 440,000
Phillips 66 Lake Charles 273,000
Valero Port Arthur 415,000
CITGO Corpus Christi 163,500
Flint Hills Corpus Christi 304,000
MPC Galveston 481,000
MPC Texas City 89,500
ExxonMobil Baytown 584,000
Sub-total: 3,143,000 b/d