US oil giants have pledged USD 23 million for disaster relief operations to help Gulf Coast residents recover from Hurricane Harvey, one of the most destructive storms in US history that killed at least 50 people.
Harvey has soaked Texas with the heaviest rainfall in US history. Texas officials said more than 185,000 homes were damaged and 9,000 destroyed as 42,000 people remain in shelters amid overflowing rivers and reservoirs.
Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, a major refiner, pledged USD 1 million to the storm victims. The company will give USD 500,000 to the United Way and USD 250,000 in matching donations for storm victims, according to a company release.
"Houston and southeast Texas are where we live and work and we are in this together," the company's CEO Mark Lashier said in a statement. "While Chevron Phillips Chemical is a global company all our thoughts are with Texas this week." The Texas coast is home to nearly 30 per cent of US refining capacity and Houston-area plants account for roughly half of that. Houston is also the starting point of the Colonial Pipeline, a massive fuel-moving artery that takes gasoline, diesel and jet fuel as far north as New York.
So far, oil and gas companies have mobilised USD 23 million for Texans and Louisianans caught in Harvey's wake, according to tweets and public statements compiled by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
That is in addition to industry workers helping to clear rubble and clean up wrecked neighbourhoods.
US corporate majors have also pledged a whopping USD 170 million for disaster relief operations to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.
"Our thoughts are with all of those who are dealing with the impact of this unprecedented natural disaster," ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Phillips said in a statement announcing USD 5 million in donations to the American Red Cross and the United Way of Greater Houston.
US petroleum giant ExxonMobil mobilised USD 9.5 million for hurricane victims, and crews working for a joint project with a Saudi Arabian chemical company were out in force to help clean up after the storm hit. Oklahoma-based Marathon Petroleum employees put together an aid package of supplies for Houston.
"In the community, Shell staff have helped out so many in need that people are flagging down anybody wearing the company pecten symbol to say thank you," Shell CEO Ben van Beurden wrote in a LinkedIn article on the storm.
Shell announced USD 1 million to the American Red Cross, which is helping Harvey victims by bringing them food, medicine and other necessities. Red Cross operates shelters for Houstonians who lost their homes to the storm and subsequent flooding.
Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 storm in late August, forcing refineries, offshore drilling rigs and pipelines to shut. About 22 per cent of the US' oil refining capacity was taken offline.
Refinery closures have caused a gasoline shortage and a spike in prices at the pump. More than 3 million barrels a day worth of refined fuels production was shut in to weather the storm.
Shell had to shut down its refinery near Deer Park, Texas as Harvey approached. The largest refinery in the US, Saudi Aramco's Motiva refinery near Port Arthur, could be offline for weeks.
Refinery shutdowns did not just affect gas prices, they also caused air pollutants and other chemicals to be released.
Refineries flare chemicals when starting up and shutting down Exxon shut down its two refineries in southeastern Texas to protect against Harvey, including the Baytown refinery, the second-largest in the country. Both facilities reportedly released air pollutants.