Cyclone #Shaheen and #Oman, #UAE, #Oil

We’ve been following the remnants of a weak cyclone that hit India last week (Gulab). It survived crossing the subcontinent as an intact system, and has intensified as it re-entered the Indian Ocean and is now headed towards the Persian Gulf. It may reach hurricane force, and threatens the oil and gas infrastructure of the region. First here is the big picture …

click any image to embiggen

The system (IO032021) was named Gulab while in the Bay of Bengal, but is now called “Shaheen” on the Arabian side. It is dumping rain across Pakistan and Iran, and the current forecast is for the storm to intensify over the next 36 hours before weakening as it approaches Oman and the mouth of the Persian Gulf …

Aside from the immediate humanitarian issues for the people in the path of the storm, the rare storms striking the Arabian Peninsula can disrupt the global oil and gas markets, which are especially fragile at the moment. At a minimum this will cause delays in tanker traffic, but the biggest threat is rain and flash floods damaging on-shore infrastructure. In 2009, Cyclone Gonu hit the same general area causing over $6 Billion in damage. Although the actual impacts on production were transient, any time a storm impacts petroleum infrastructure prices spike due to speculation. As reported in Al Jazzera at the time, Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, said he doubted the increase could be attributed to Gonu. “I don’t know if you can really attribute any of the gain to the cyclone”, he said. “It’s an excuse, as opposed to a reason, for the rise in prices.” Which probably describes a lot of oil and gas price swings …

Either way, there is a lot of stuff in the way of the storm, and if something breaks that shouldn’t, it could disrupt the infrastructure and cause problems. Here are the locations of some of the pipelines and refineries in the path:

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