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Texas lawmakers investigate deadly power blackout

March 01/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Texas state legislators started digging into the causes of deadly power blackouts that left millions shivering in the dark as frigid temperatures caught its grid operator and utilities ill-prepared for skyrocketing power demand, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Hearings are highlighting shortcomings by grid planners, electric utility and natural gas transmission operators that led to billions of dollars in damages and dozens of deaths. Consumer advocates have called for more stringent regulation of utilities and a review of retail marketing plans. "The entire energy sector failed Texas," said NRG Energy Inc Chief Executive Mauricio Gutierrez, who testified at the hearing.

The biggest failure was the state's natural gas system, said Curtis Morgan, CEO of Vistra Corp, adding that without better ties between gas producers, pipelines and power plants, the state could face future cold weather outages. "We just couldn't get the gas at the pressures we needed," said Morgan, who instructed employees to buy gas at any price but could not acquire enough to run plants.

Up to 48% of the state's power generation was offline at times last week and at least 32 people died, including an 11-year-old boy of hypothermia in an unheated mobile home. "We owe it to them and every Texan to make sure this never happens again," said State Representative Ana Hernandez, noting that hospitals still have supply chain problems and burst pipes, and some people cannot access food and water. "The impact of this disaster was not only financial."

Utilities were ordered to cut power to prevent a larger catastrophe, Bill Magness, CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state's grid operator, said on Wednesday. ERCOT, whose board is appointed by the state Public Utility Commission, faces lawsuits by customers and a generator claiming damages from misrepresentation and lack of planning. Six of ERCOT's 15 directors resigned this week and a nominee withdrew before taking a seat.

ERCOT did not warn residents that the state's power generation would not keep up with demand, even under perfect conditions, despite warnings the week prior from utilities, Morgan said. "We did not give people a fighting chance," Morgan said.

We remind that Royal Dutch Shell has reported an outage at its olefins plant in Deer Park, Texas, USA, on 5 January, 2021. The plant flared for 16 hours following unspecified process upset. Maximum steam cracker operating rate in Texas falls to 89%.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,220,640 tonnes in 2020, up by 2% year on year. Only shipments of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) increased. At the same time, polypropylene (PP) shipments to the Russian market reached 1 240,000 tonnes in 2020 (calculated using the formula: production, minus exports, plus imports, excluding producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply of exclusively PP random copolymer increased.
Author:Anna Larionova
Tags:petroleum products, PP, PE, neftegaz, petrochemistry.
Category:General News
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