Providing Energy Stability Throughout Hurricane Season
Posted August 3, 2020
As we head into the heart of what is forecast to be an above-normal hurricane season, the natural gas and oil industry stands prepared to protect energy workers, neighboring communities, and the energy production facilities and infrastructure that are vital to keeping Americans well supplied.
Industry preparations help minimize the risk of extreme weather to critical energy infrastructure, including refineries and pipelines, and allow for rapid response to hurricane impacts – specifically, to help limit supply disruptions and aid the recovery. Of course, major weather events test preparations, but we are focused on being as prepared as possible for this season.
For natural gas and oil companies, that usually starts with detailed plans to evacuate employees from offshore platforms before a major storm arrives, understanding how and when to safely shut down refineries if that becomes necessary, securing electricity generation capacity to operate vital facilities, coordinating with federal and state officials and more. For the 2020 hurricane season, preparations also include the use of pandemic planning resources to ensure critical health and safety measures are taken as the outbreak of COVID-19 continues.
But beyond these critical measures, industry’s focus during hurricane season remains first and foremost safety and keeping the market well-supplied – both for emergency responders and consumers – including storm-affected areas.
Remember that the nation’s fuel supply system is large, geographically diverse and adaptable – which is fundamental to minimizing disruptions during severe weather events. Here’s the fuel supply chain that furnishes important consumer products:
It starts with finding and producing crude oil, which is refined into gasoline, diesel and other fuels. Most refined gasoline is transported by pipeline to fuel terminals, located closer to transportation hubs. Before it goes to retail outlets, fuel must be blended with ethanol and additives. Blending occurs at the terminal, and then the finished gasoline is loaded onto a tanker truck.
Remember, too, that nationally, 97% of gasoline stations are independently owned. About 60% of all gasoline stations are owned by a single store owner. The major oil companies don’t own or manage the product in the tanks at these independent retail locations.
Industry works hard to ensure the reliability of the fuel supply chain because we understand that American families rely on the uninterrupted supply of energy - in good weather and bad.
For additional information, see API’s hurricane resources and information site.
About The Author
Jessica Lutz is a writer for the American Petroleum Institute. Jessica joined API after 10+ years leading the in-house marketing and communications for non-profits and trade associations. A Michigan native, Jessica graduated from The University of Michigan with degrees in Communications and Political Science. She resides in London, and spends most of her free time trying to keep up with her energetic Giant Schnauzer, Jackson.