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Tropical Storm Harvey Threatens The Gulf Coast

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It hasn’t happened since 2008, but as we suggested in this very place last Friday, the makings of an active hurricane season are already unfolding as predicted.

Tropical Storm Harvey is likely to morph into a powerful Hurricane by the time it makes landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas late tonight or early Saturday. The storm isn’t your usual garden variety weather event because, as we pointed out last week, Harvey’s trajectory will likely remain along the Texas gulf coast line coastline, affecting “Refinery Row,” and potentially disrupting nearly a quarter of the total of U.S. gasoline production. Worse, currently, available weather patterns suggest the storm and its associated storm surge and flood risk will remain confined to the area for several days, causing uncertain flooding conditions.

As a precaution, not only were several oil fields and platforms evacuated Thursday, at least four refineries began the process of closing down operations and production out of concern that the attendant loss of electricity in Harvey’s path would damage the refining process and leave the plants without the ability to pump out water away from critical infrastructure.

In the nine years since Hurricane Ike, when refineries from Corpus Christi to the Mississippi were affected, refineries have made improvements to withstand the effects of hurricanes. Recalling then too, that the Colonial Pipeline, the proverbial gasoline artery which sends significant amounts It hasn’t happened since 2008, but as we suggested in this very place last Friday, the makings of an active hurricane season are already unfolding as predicted.

Although no storms seem to be following Harvey next week, it is likely that conditions will continue to spawn future threats in the first weeks of September.

Let’s hope for the best in getting through whatever Hurricane Harvey can produce.

Senior Petroleum Analyst, Canada

Dan is a skilled and noted bilingual (French and English) consumer advocate specializing in energy and current affairs. Known as Canada's “Gas Guru,” he founded tomorrowsgaspricetoday.com to better help motorists anticipate the price of gasoline in advance across Canada. He has over three decades of experience in the petroleum industry, as a parliamentarian and an analyst.