RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (ICIS)--Hurricane Harvey was a constant topic of conversation at the APLA meeting on Monday, with one speaker saying the storm was a rain event of ‘biblical’ proportions that shut down half of the US supply of chemicals for six weeks.
“It was enough rain to cover the lower 48 states of the United States… with half an inch of water,” said David Witte with IHS Markit, adding that the supply disruptions caused a 1% loss in global utilization rates for the chemical industry.
Witte spoke at the 37th Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA) meeting in Rio de Janeiro.
He said Harvey dumped 27 trillion gallons of water in the US, adding that this was the equivalent of 15 days of water flowing over Niagara Falls
In addition to disrupting supply, the storm wreaked a logistics havoc in the US Gulf as it shut down the Port of Houston and 2,000 miles of train tracks, he told delegates.
The effects of the storm were being felt in Latin America, while demand in the US for products such polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is expected to remain strong because of increased construction activity resulting from the storm.
Witte also spoke on the outlook for energy markets, saying that despite demand growth and OPEC discipline, a near-term global supply surplus of crude is set to re-emerge.
He expects US crude production, led by the Permian basis, to approach a peak around 2025, while US NGL production will lead the global market and nearly triple in the 2010-2020 decade.
NGL production will continue to rise after 2020, particularly for ethane, which he predicted will be around 2.5m bbl/day by 2025.
The APLA meeting ends on Tuesday.