Gulf ports and offshore drillers face up to Tropical Storm Bill

Gulf ports and offshore drillers face up to Tropical Storm Bill

San Francisco: Tropical Storm Bill forced the closure of some Texas waterways on Tuesday as ports in the Lone Star state braced themselves for its impact.

The US Coast Guard (USCG) closed waterways along the Gulf coast from Matagorda Bay to Galveston Bay as a precaution.

Vessel traffic was halted in the Houston Ship Channel, home to the biggest US petrochemical port. More than 45 percent of the country’s refining capacity and half of natural gas processing capacity sits along the Gulf Coast.

Normal operations were expected to resume on Thursday, according to the Houston Port Authority.

But oil companies said output from platforms in the Gulf, which pumps about a fifth of all domestic crude, was unaffected.

ExxonMobil, Shell and BP said they haven’t cut any production because of the storm, although Chevron and Shell did evacuate non-essential personnel on Monday.

And BP shut its Mad Dog and Atlantis fields early on Tuesday after a pipeline outage but it did not appear that the storm caused the outage.

Bill is the second named tropical storm of the 2015 US Atlantic season after Ana, the National Hurricane Centre said.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.

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