Winter weather alert for 80 million

Luke 21:25,26 “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Important Takeaways:

  • More than 80 million under winter weather alerts across the East Coast with snow and heavy winds on the way
  • Sunday, roughly 3,000 flights were canceled.
  • Air travel is still snarled by the wintry conditions, with more than 1,200 US flights canceled as of Monday
  • There are currently 217,089 customers without power in 11 states, according to PowerOutage.US.
  • Eight to 12 inches of snow could fall Monday in Pittsburgh and Buffalo, New York, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said
  • Buffalo could see wind gusts up to 45 mph, while New York City may get 55-mph gusts, and some parts of Maine could get gusts up to 65 mph.
  • Virginia State Police responded to nearly 1,000 traffic crashes and disabled vehicles
  • One twister was an EF2 tornado with maximum winds of 118 mph. It may have completely destroyed 30 mobile homes of the 108 mobile homes damaged near Fort Myers
  • An EF1 tornado with winds of 110 mph left behind a path of destruction, according to the weather service.

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Winter Storm slams East Coast knocking out power

Luke 21:25,26 “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Important Takeaways:

  • Powerful storm slams East Coast with snow, winds and freezing rain
  • A powerful winter storm that slammed the Southeast over the weekend was moving north Monday, causing widespread power outages and covering roads in a mix of snow and ice.
  • More than 125,000 customers were in the dark in Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and West Virginia, according to the website PowerOutages.us.
  • As the system moves north, Pittsburgh could see more than a foot of snow and some parts of New York could see 2 to 3 inches of snow falling every hour.

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The biggest winter storm so far this year is set to slam the eastern U.S.

Luke 21:25, 26 “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Important Takeaways:

  • Storm to unleash dangerous snow, ice from Atlanta to Raleigh
  • A winter storm will plunge from the Midwest into the Southeast over the holiday weekend, threatening to create dangerous to impossible travel conditions and the potential for lengthy power outages.
  • A weather event that could evolve into an all-out ice storm for cities along the Interstate 85 corrido
  • The ice could also contribute to power outages and significant tree damage, Porter added.

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Artic blast effects millions

Luke 21:7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?” Luke 21:11 “There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and epidemics in many lands, and there will be terrifying things (that which strikes terror), and great miraculous signs in the heavens.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Mid-South snowmaker to become next East Coast snowstorm, bring more snow to I-95 corridor Thursday into Friday
  • Travel conditions will be hazardous throughout this region
  • Gusty winds could create areas of blowing and drifting snow at times, especially along the New England coast.

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Power Outage across southeast

Luke 21:7 & 11 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?”  11 “There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and epidemics in many lands, and there will be terrifying things (that which strikes terror), and great miraculous signs in the heavens.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Winter Storm Knocks Out Power Across Southeast
  • More than 250,000 customers in Virginia were without electricity, with an additional 176,000 outages in North Carolina and more than 100,000 in Georgia, according to PowerOutage.us
  • Ahead of the storm, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington declared a snow emergency in the District of Columbia
  • Larry Hogan of Maryland mobilized state resources, and Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey declared a state of emergency for five counties, warning residents to stay off the roads.
  • In Delaware, state government offices were closed
  • Parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey could see up to a foot of snow on Monday, with wind gusts as high as 40 miles per hour

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Winners and losers in energy sector from Texas cold snap

(Reuters) – A winter storm that hit parts of the southern United States over the past week led several energy companies to report stronger-than-expected results after they were called on to provide more power at higher prices, while others faced millions of dollars in losses.

Here is a look at the winners and losers in the energy sector from the storm:

WINNERS:

Gas producers:

Comstock Resources said the last week was “like hitting the jackpot,” adding it was able to sell at “super-premium prices” a material amount of production at anywhere from $15 per million cubic feet of gas (mcf) to as much as around $179 per mcf.

EQT Corp said it also benefited from the high prices. The company mainly produces gas out of the Marcellus and Utica shale regions in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Australia’s Macquarie Group, the second biggest gas marketer in North America after oil major BP, lifted its profit guidance on Monday due to the effects of the extreme winter weather. It expects 2021 profit to rise by 10%, after earlier anticipating earnings to drop.

Other natural gas-weighted production companies, including Cabot Oil & Gas, Southwestern Energy Co, Range Resources Corp and Antero Resources, may benefit from the freeze, Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note.

Refiners with limited exposure to Texas markets:

Shares of refiners such as HollyFrontier Corp and Valero Energy Corp rose after the freezing temperatures knocked a large swath of U.S. Gulf Coast refining offline, said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho. Eurozone refiners, including Shell and Total, are positioned to benefit as they ramp up their shipments of gasoline into New York Harbor, he said.

LOSERS

Utilities:

Just Energy on Monday raised doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern, after it forecast a $250 million loss from the winter storms.

Innergex Renewable Energy Inc forecast a financial impact of up to C$60 million ($47.48 million) on its Texas wind farms.

Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp said on Friday it expects the potential hit to adjusted core earnings for this year to be between $45 million and $55 million after the cold weather restricted production at its Renewable Energy Group’s Texas-based wind facilities.

Atmos Energy said on Friday it purchased natural gas for an extra $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion due to higher cost of the fuel, adding it was evaluating financing options to pay for the additional purchase cost.

Vistra Corp estimated a one-time adverse impact of between about $900 million and $1.3 billion, and said it was unable to reaffirm or adjust its 2021 guidance.

Oilfield Services:

Solaris said on Monday last week’s weather would have an impact on first quarter financials, but did not quantify the hit.

Shale oil producers:

Shale oil producers in the southern United States could take at least two weeks to restart the more than 2 million barrels per day of crude output that shut down. Some production may never return, analysts said.

Diamondback Energy said it expects the weather to wipe off up to five days of production in the current quarter.

Cimarex Energy Inc said it expects an up to 7% hit to production volume in the quarter.

Occidental Petroleum forecast first-quarter Permian production of 450,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day to 460,000 boepd, including a 25,000 boepd hit from downtime related to the winter storm.

Laredo Petroleum said its Permian Basin operations were affected for the last 12 days and estimated the combined impact of shut-in production and completions delays to reduce first-quarter total output by about 8,000 boepd and oil production by about 3,000 bpd.

Gulf refiners:

Refiners with oil processing facilities along the Gulf Coast, the main U.S. refining hub, such as Phillips 66 and Exxon Mobil, were forced to halt operations. By Thursday last week, the historic sub-zero temperatures in Texas and Louisiana shut at least 3.5 million barrels per day, or about 19%, of U.S. refining capacity.

($1 = 1.2636 Canadian dollars)

(Compiled by Arundhati Sarkar and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru, Laila Kearney and Devika Krishnakumar in New York and Rod Nickel in Calgary; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall, Arun Koyyur and Sriraj Kalluvila)

More than 1.3 million Texans still grappling with water supply disruptions

By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) – More than 1.3 million people across over 200 counties in Texas still had issues with their water supply by Wednesday, but that was down sharply from recent days, a spokesman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) said.

That figure compared with Tuesday’s 3.4 million, Monday’s 8 million and Sunday’s 9 million, or about a third of the state’s population.

A deadly winter storm caused widespread blackouts last week across Texas, a state unaccustomed to extreme cold, killing at least two dozen people and knocking out power to more than 4 million at its peak.

As of Wednesday evening, “33 Public Water Systems are non-operational, affecting 20,689 Texans,” the spokesman told Reuters in an emailed statement, adding that 204 counties were reporting issues with their public water systems (PWS).

He said around 853 PWSs were on a boil water notice, meaning people were being advised to boil water before consuming it, affecting 1,333,134 Texans. Some 1,176 previously issued boil water notices had been rescinded, he added.

Once the current crisis is over, TCEQ plans to examine the ongoing experience to prevent such a disruption from taking place in the future, TCEQ Executive Director Toby Baker told Reuters on Wednesday.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott pledged on Wednesday to overhaul the state’s electric grid operator after a massive blackout left residents without heat, power or water for days.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the flow of power to about 90% of state residents, has faced sharp criticism over its failure to prepare for severe cold. Outages caused billions of dollars of damages to homes and businesses.

Six ERCOT directors have resigned and a board nominee declined a seat in the wake of sharp criticism of the group’s performance.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Hogue and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

Oil producers eye long road to recovery as Texas begins to thaw

By Devika Krishna Kumar and Laila Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Shale oil producers in the southern United States could take at least two weeks to restart the more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output that shut down because of cold weather, as frozen pipes and power supply interruptions slow their recovery, sources said.

The winter storm that gripped Texas and much of the country over the past week forced the biggest ever weather-related shutdown in the Permian Basin, cutting 2 to 4 million bpd from nationwide oil output and hitting the roughly 5 million barrels produced each day from top shale producing state Texas especially hard.

The shut in oil production represents 2 to 4% of global supply, so a slow recovery would tighten worldwide crude markets and may bolster prices that already hit a one-year peak earlier this week.

There may be glitches in supply as utilities assess and repair damage, industry sources said.

“I think it will be a while before things get better out in the field,” one executive at a Permian producer said, on condition of anonymity.

Typically, oil production can be restarted quickly after cold weather, but the scale of the shutdown is unique, said Jodi Quinnell, research director at energy researcher and consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

“Within the Permian, it’s definitely different this time around, partially because of the sheer amount of production taken offline,” Quinnell said.

Permian Basin oil production is down 35%, dipping below 3 million barrels a day in output for the first time since 2018, according to Wood Mackenzie data.

Problems in accessing the fields and equipment could slow the recovery, executives at oil companies said.

Some companies that truck equipment and workers into Texas shale basins to repair frozen wells and gathering lines have been unable to access certain roads due to icy conditions, a worker at one Texas trucking company said.

Several midstream companies, including Oryx Midstream, a Permian-based gathering and logistics company, as well as TC Energy’s Marketlink pipeline, have declared force majeure as power disruptions impede their ability to receive and pump barrels.

“This situation is a little different, where if you have continued power issues, you can’t run pump stations and compressors and things like that,” said Ryan Smith, East Daley Capital’s research director.

Producers are also grappling with a lot of actual freeze-offs, truck issues and mechanical problems at tank farms, one source at a merchant that works with Permian oil producers said.

“It’s not like power comes back on and you flip the basin back on it,” the source said, predicting production could be at about 50% on Monday but take a few weeks to be at 100%.

The production decline from wellhead freeze-offs is expected to total 16 to 18 million barrels in February, J.P. Morgan analysts estimated.

Still, producers are unlikely to make major investments to prevent problems like this recurring, analysts and company officials said. Many consider the freeze-off a once-in-a-century event.

“It’s a cross benefit analysis. They’re thinking, how often does this happen, are we going to deal with this once a decade? It’s not really worth it for them to guard against an outlier event,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital in New York.

(Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar and Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by Caroline Stauffer and Rosalba O’Brien)

Power restored to most in Texas after ‘tragic few days’

By Adrees Latif

GALVESTON, Texas (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of homes in Texas are coping without heat for a fourth day on Thursday after utilities made some progress restoring power, as the state’s leaders came under mounting criticism for their response to the winter storm.

The crisis facing the country’s second-largest state looked set to continue, with millions of people still without access to water, many struggling to find food, and freezing temperatures expected to last through Saturday.

Judge Lina Hidalgo, the top elected official in Harris County, which encompasses Houston, said the number of homes without power in her county had fallen to 33,000 from 1.4 million a few nights ago.

“It’s definitely a big positive that the power is back on for most of the residents,” Hidalgo said in an interview. “It’s been a miserable few days, a really tragic few days.”

Hidalgo warned that a “hard freeze” Thursday night could cause setbacks and encouraged donations to food banks with some residents struggling to secure food and water. She noted reports of senior centers and other vulnerable communities lacking basic supplies.

At present some 447,000 Texas households were without power, down from around 2.7 million on Wednesday, according to poweroutage.com, a website that tracks outages.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), a cooperative responsible for 90% of the state’s electricity, said on Thursday it made “significant progress” in restoring power. It did not provide detailed figures.

Angry residents have trained much of their ire on ERCOT, which critics say did not heed warnings after a cold-weather meltdown in 2011 to ensure that Texas’ energy infrastructure, which relies primarily on natural gas, was winterized.

Critics have also raised questions about the leadership of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has called for an investigation of ERCOT. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz too came under fire for flying to the Mexican resort city of Cancun with his family, despite the storm’s fallout. The Republican lawmaker cut his trip short after his travels were reported, saying he would return to Texas and “get to the bottom of what happened” in his state.

Gary Southern, a 68-year-old real estate broker from Mineral Wells, Texas, said his power was restored on Wednesday afternoon, enabling him to have his first solid night of sleep since he lost electricity in the early hours of Monday.

“It was one of the worst things we’ve ever had to go through,” the lifelong Texan said, adding that he was frustrated at being told there would be rolling blackouts, only to go days without power at all. “I know a lot of people in our community still don’t have it (power) and are frustrated.”

The lack of power has cut off water supplies for millions, further strained hospitals’ ability to treat patients amid a pandemic, and isolated vulnerable communities with frozen roads still impassable in parts of the state.

As of Thursday morning, 154 of the 254 counties in Texas have reported disruptions in water service, affecting 13.2 million people, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Many of those affected have been told they need to boil their water.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said historically low temperatures were hindering efforts to inoculate people against COVID-19, with more than 2,000 vaccine sites in areas with power outages. In addition to aiding Texas, FEMA said on Thursday it would provide assistance to the neighboring state of Oklahoma due to the weather’s impact on its power grid.

Nearly two dozen deaths have been attributed to the cold snap. Officials say they suspect many more people have died – but their bodies have not been discovered yet.

In Galveston on the Gulf Coast of Texas, a pop-up shelter with heat but no running water had allowed about three dozen people to huddle overnight before they were ushered back out into the cold on Thursday morning to let cleaning crews get it ready to do it all over again on Thursday night.

“When you go to the bathroom, grab a bucket of water to clear the toilet – we’re going old school!” Cesar Garcia, director of Galveston’s Parks and Recreation Department, called out as he oversaw scrubbing of the shelter set up in the McGuire-Dent Recreation Center.

Garcia said he was bracing for a potentially bigger crowd tonight, perhaps closer to the 100 who sought shelter on Monday night, sleeping on bleachers or a gymnasium floor with blankets and whatever they brought with them from home.

“Tonight being the coldest night, we don’t know what to expect,” Garcia said.

While the icy conditions should gradually improve, record low temperatures will likely persist in the South Central region of the United States through Saturday, according to the National Weather Service said, which said the storm was moving northeastward, dropping snow on a swath of states in its path.

(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas; Barbara Goldberg in Maplewood, New Jersey; Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; and Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler and Jonathan Oatis)

Texas oil refineries shut as winter storm hits U.S. energy sector

By Arpan Varghese

(Reuters) – Freezing temperatures across Texas during the extended holiday weekend forced energy companies to shut oil refineries in the largest U.S. crude-producing state and restricted natural gas pipeline operations.

The rare deep freeze prompted the state’s electric grid operator to impose rotating blackouts, leaving nearly 3 million customers without power.

President Joe Biden declared an emergency on Monday, unlocking federal assistance to Texas.

Texas produces roughly 4.6 million barrels of oil a day and is home to some of the nation’s largest refineries, spread throughout the Gulf Coast. In Midland, heart of the U.S. Permian shale region, temperatures were in the single digits Fahrenheit.

Motiva Enterprises said it was shutting down its Port Arthur, Texas, complex, which includes its 607,000 barrel-per-day refinery – the largest in the United States.

Exxon also began shutting its 369,024 bpd Beaumont refinery and its 560,500 bpd Baytown refinery and adjoining chemical plant in Texas, sources familiar with plant operations said.

Its Baton Rouge facility in Louisiana experienced operational issues.

Citgo Petroleum Corp said some units at its 167,500 bpd Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery were being shut.

Sources familiar with plant operations said earlier that the crude distillation unit, a reformer and a hydrotreater were shut by cold weather at the refinery, with all other units also being powered down.

The cold snap also forced Lyondell Basell’s 263,776 bpd Houston refinery to operate at minimum production and shut most units at Marathon’s 585,000 bpd Galveston Bay plant.

“We are also getting reports of power outages across the Permian, which are expected to continue over the weekend if the current weather system persists. This may result in intermittent production shut-ins, with a moderate impact on Permian oil production expected in February,” Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets, Bjornar Tonhaugen, said in a note.

Energy distribution was stalled across large parts of the United States.

Kinder Morgan’s Natural Gas Pipeline Co. reported capacity constraints at various locations on its pipeline system, while Enable Gas Transmission said it was taking measures to ensure adequate supply for customers.

Oil pipeline operator Enbridge Inc. said on Monday a 585,000 bpd crude oil pipeline that runs from its terminal near Pontiac, Illinois, outside of Chicago, to the largest U.S. oil storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, was halted because of power outages.

“Crews are working with electric utility providers to restore power to Line 59,” as the pipeline is called, said Enbridge spokesman Michael Barnes. “The power failure is due to the winter storm the U.S. is experiencing.”

Colonial Pipeline Co, the largest oil products pipeline in the United States, said there were no significant impacts to operations at the moment due to the weather.

The icy weather conditions also prompted Port Houston public terminals to cease vessel operations from Sunday evening through Monday.

(Reporting by Arpan Varghese and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Gary McWilliams and Erwin Seba in Houston; Editing by Andrea Ricci, Dan Grebler and Sonya Hepinstall)