US faces busy Atlantic hurricane season amid tight chem markets

Author: Janet Miranda

2021/05/20

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a 60% chance of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year, although it does not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020, meteorologists said on Thursday.

For 2021, forecasters are predicting 13-20 named storms with winds of 39 miles/hour (63 km/hour). Out of those, 6-10 could become major hurricanes with winds of 74 miles/hour or higher, including 3-5 major hurricanes with winds of 111 miles/hour or higher.

Earlier in April, NOAA updated its statistics to predict hurricane seasons, relative to the latest climate record. Based on this update, an average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.

The following graphic shows 2021 Atlantic tropical cyclone names.

Source: NOAA

Hurricanes and tropical storms can disrupt the North American petrochemical industry, because many of the nation's plants and refineries are along the US Gulf Coast in the states of Texas and Louisiana.

Also, oil and gas production is concentrated in the Gulf of Mexico. Even the threat of a major storm can disrupt oil and natural gas supplies because companies often evacuate US Gulf platforms as a precaution.

Petrochemical markets are already tight because of problems caused by logistical constraints, winter storms and 2020's busy hurricane season.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from 1 June through 30 November.

Thumbnail image shows satellite image of Hurricane Delta in the Gulf of Mexico, October 2020. Photo by Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock.

Additional reporting by Al Greenwood