NEW YORK/HOUSTON (Reuters) – Oil and petrochemical plants over the U.S. Gulf Coast want to just do it with plans for near record paying for expansions this year, despite Hurricane Harvey driving up labor costs and slowing work, experts said.

Harvey largely spared oil and petrochemical plants along the U.S. Gulf Coast from significant damage but thousands of homes and businesses just weren’t as fortunate. Refiners and recovery projects will complete for the same labor, driving up costs or causing labor shortages.

Industrial investment in the Gulf Coast is predicted to kick $51.9 billion the coming year, on the 2019 peak, requiring an army of pipefitters, ironworkers as well as other craftsman, said Industrial Web resources (IIR), which tracks labor supply for refiners together with other industrial companies.

"We had a labor shortage before Harvey, the difference is it's significantly worse," said IIR's Anthony Salemme. "It's visiting spread to soft crafts like painters and insulators."

Investments have soared lately since the shale revolution fed off a present infrastructure. The region's deep water ports and expanding pipeline and storage networks offer an easy outlet to global markets. This also boasts a welcoming regulatory climate and skilled workforce.

Since 2010, $85 billion importance of petrochemical projects have begun or been finished through the United states of america, the vast majority of them inside Gulf Coast region, good American Chemistry Council.

But the concentration across the West coast of florida leaves these facilities and supporting networks encountered with the brutal force of tropical storms and hurricanes, as Harvey laid bare recently.

The storm shut roughly one in four in the nation's refinery capacity and most a dozen petrochemical plants halted operations. Ports were closed and key fuel pipelines serving the Midwest and U.S. Northeast were partially or completely shut, driving up pump prices as fears of fuel shortages became predominant.

Preliminary assessments claim that storm's hit into the region will not be deterring companies from going ahead with existing projects. But global commodities buyers for example Ineos Group [INEOSG.UL] and Reliance Industries Ltd that used existing facilities shut from the storm may now consider putting some warehouses and stock elsewhere.

"The robustness within the supply chain is brought somewhat more under attention," said David Witte, a senior vp at consultants IHS Markit. "They are looking at it differently."

Construction costs also could slow some work.


There isn’t a sign that major new projects they are under threat. Several with plans on your chance board, including BASF SE (DE:BASFN), DowDuPont Inc and Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM) are being dedicated to growth plans. Others said they may repair Harvey's damage before you make any decisions on long-term way of the region. Exxon earlier this year stated it would invest $20 billion to expand Texas refining and petrochemical operations in Beaumont, Corpus Christi and Baytown. All three communities were damaged by Harvey. During that expansion, Exxon and Saudi Basic Industries Corp are proposing an about $10 billion chemical plant in Corpus Christi, near where Harvey made landfall. The work is dancing, according to a resource knowledgeable about the situation.

Exxon spokesman Scott Silvestri declined to comment. DowDuPont is usually undeterred from a constant $4 billion expansion project which includes new capacity in Freeport, Texas, about the coast. "Hurricane Harvey isn’t going to change our perspective around the region like a great area for our investments," spokeswoman Rachelle Schikorra said within a statement. Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSa) Plc, which is expanding its operations in the Gulf, also offers proposed new investments in western Pennsylvania, near to the natural gas-rich Marcellus formation.

The plant will help Shell capture a better share on the U.S. marketplace for polyethylene, expenditures the fact that concentrates in northern states. It took Shell years decide to produce the guarana plant.

Pennsylvania initiated a policy of that will put itself like a second U.S. refining region, despite the fact that baby plants are years far from opening. Hawaii lacks the specialized refining workforce and proximity to open water – as well as the Panama Canal – that make the Gulf Coast area still so appealing.

The U.S. Gulf Coast will continue a nice-looking investment area, said Shell spokesman Curtis Smith along with other energy officials.

"What this storm has shown is definitely the resilience with the energy system," said Torgrim Reitan, who runs Statoil (OL:STL) ASA's U.S. operations. "A good Harvey can't remove this capacity."