Severe weather warnings issued for 15 US States, Texas energy industry braced

30 Jan 2023

Quantum Commodity Intelligence - More than 40 million people from Texas to West Virginia are under winter weather alerts Monday as a system threatens heavy precipitation, significant icing and bitter cold, reported CNN.

Ice accumulation is expected across at least 15 states, the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center said.

"Total freezing rain amounts could become significant across parts of central Texas, southwest Oklahoma, central Arkansas, and western Tennessee, where over a quarter inch of ice accrual is forecast. Additionally, low to moderate chances for three-day ice accretion over a half inch exists over parts of central Texas and Arkansas," the centre said.

The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) warned Sunday that oil and gas operators in Texas should prepare for severe winter weather this week, with the freezing conditions set to impact parts of the Permian basin, the country's largest oil and gas-producing region.  

In late December, winter Storm Elliot caused severe disruptions to the energy industry, hitting production, supply chains, refining and power transmission.

However, US natural gas prices continued the six-week-long retreat Monday amid ample supplies, with the Mar23 Henry Hub contract on NYMEX trading around 4.5% lower early afternoon eastern time at $2.72/mmBtu, with the contract having retreated by more than 50% since mid-December.

Dangerously bitter cold air also settled in behind the arctic front as it slowly moved through the West over the weekend, with more than 15 million people under wind chill warnings Monday morning, said CNN.

Wind chills as low as 45F degrees below zero are possible.

In Austin, Texas, freezing rain could begin early Monday morning, while Dallas is also expected to see significant icing.

ERCOT, Texas’ electric power grid operator, said it is monitoring the threat of frozen precipitation but believes it will have enough generation capacity to meet demands of its more than 26 million customers.