Climate change is something that nobody can avoid or deny. The truth is that there is something going on in our world and all individuals and industries are being affected by it.

Currently, there is a climate phenomenon that is affecting America around the Caribbean Coast. This phenomenon is called Irma, and it is a hurricane that has created new concerns regarding the oil production capacity in the United States.

Even though the hurricane itself hasn’t affected the oil companies yet, it has created doubts related to a possible shortage of refined oil in the days to come. These doubts have popped up since the entire country paralyzed its regular operations a few months ago due to the decrease in the price of oil per barrel.

According to, there is nothing to worry about in the future to come because changes are taking place in order for the country to be able to face what Irma may bring. In fact, during the past days, the production of 2 million barrels per day was resumed, as a strategy to recover 50% of the oil production capacity that took placed a couple of years ago.

Other changes regarding the production of oil are currently taking place thanks to Irma’s potential impact- among other circumstances. We will see some of these changes.


Texas is not close to being affected by Irma as bad as Florida is. However, the second largest refinery located in the southern state -the Baytown refinery- is restarting operations as fast as they can in order to be able to meet the market’s demands.

Resuming their operations means that the number of oil barrels produced per day will immediately increase, preventing a potential shortage of the commodity once the storm has passed.

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Valero Energy

ExxonMobil is not the only company in Texas that is quickly restarting its operations. The oil producing company Valero Energy also opened the doors of two of the refineries it had shut down during the past months.

This means that in Texas City, Corpus Christi and Huston the oil production is back on track. In fact, there are other refineries that belong to Valero Energy that are scheduled to open their doors soon, like the one located in Port Arthur.

Motiva Refinery

One thing that still concerns some people is the future of Motiva, the largest refinery in the United States. Motiva is very important to the American economy since it has the capacity of producing over 600,000 barrels of oil per day.

This refinery is currently out of the game. Nevertheless, many people predict that it will open its doors back anytime soon. The reason why people seem to believe this is that oil is currently experiencing a spike that positively affects its prices.

With a three percent increase in the price per barrel taking place during the past days, it becomes logical to speculate that Motiva will resume its operations soon. In fact, according to Goldman Sachs, it is expected that during the next week half of the refining capacity that was shut off during the past months, will restart its operations.

What about the other producers?

Even though the oil production capacity has been resumed in a large scale, the production of at least 1,4 million barrels of oil per day is still suspended. The operations related to the production of the remaining barrels has not been scheduled to be resumed any time soon. Actually, any further decision regarding this matter depends on what investment banks will predict.

Goldman Sachs believes that Irma’s impact will lead to a spike in the consumption of oil during the first month after the storm passes. But, this demand will decrease in at least a 20% during the second month after the storm.

This means that the crude oil inventories will raise their capacity during the next month, but they will face a decrease in demand during the second month, and some refineries will need to shut down the operations again.

What about shale drillers?

Just as oil production and refineries have resumed their operation during the past days, shale drillers have also got back to business in the look to get its cut out of the new circumstances.

Shale drillers such as Eagle Ford have never shut down their operations fully, and so they keep on producing at least 200,000 shale oil barrels per day. However, Goldman Sachs has also predicted that since the oil prices have dropped, they now can compete with the shale oil prices. This means that some Gulf Coast refineries will have the possibility to curtail the shale production and take the biggest share of the market for themselves.

The truth is that the future to come is uncertain. Nonetheless, the presence of Irma has opened again the debate regarding the number of oil barrels that are being produced every day in the United States, and it has raised some concerns related to a potential shortage of the commodity given the new adverse circumstances.

Related: Crude Oil Prices: How to understand their instability by Suzzanne Uhland

* Featured Image courtesy of Pixabay at