Posted June 9, 2015
With another hurricane season upon us, it’s timely to briefly review the ways the oil and natural gas industry is prepared for conditions that could impact industry operations, particularly in the Gulf Coast region and Gulf of Mexico – home to more than 45 percent of U.S. refining capacity and about 17 percent of the nation’s oil and 5 percent of its natural gas production.
While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting below-normal activity in the Atlantic region (which includes the Gulf), industry still takes a number precautions and has response plans in place in the event of a serious storm – wise, considering the potential impacts to facilities, regional and national economies and the environment.
You can read about this in detail in this hurricane fact sheet. Some highlights:
- Preparation is a big deal. Industry standards have been developed to ensure the safety of workers on drilling rigs and platforms before and after a hurricane.
- Days before a tropical storm or hurricane that could impact drilling and production operations, companies evaluate to decide whether to evacuate workers and whether to relocate drillships to safe locations.
- After a storm, operators conduct flyovers to evaluate damage. Later, operators will send crews to offshore facilities to physically assess damage. If facilities and supporting infrastructure are undamaged and ready to accept shipments, operators will begin restarting production and drilling rigs will restart operations.
Being prepared for hurricanes and tropical storms can’t be overstated. From the API factsheet:
When gasoline production is lost and demand surges, fuel prices sometimes rise – even in areas far from hurricane-affected states. API has assembled this fact sheet to help consumers better understand the interconnected nature of the U.S. fuel supply system and what happens when a supply shock, such as a hurricane, occurs.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.