Jun 5th, 2020

Industry is Hurricane Ready


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Nathan McBride

Regulatory Affairs Manager


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Less than one week in, and the 2020 Hurricane Season has already been especially active, with Cristobal forecasted to continue taking aim at Louisiana. Within the coming days as the storm impacts the Gulf Coast as a tropical storm (or potentially hurricane), the experience and offseason preparations made by the oil and natural gas industry will certainly come into play.

First and foremost, the safety of the people of Louisiana, including industry workers both onshore and offshore, the communities where we operate, and the protection of the environment, are top priority. From the first sign of a storm, LMOGA members initiate phased responses based upon the best available storm data and forecasts to ensure operations are continued in only the safest manner.

Louisiana is home to 17% of the nation’s refining capacity and with the Gulf of Mexico accounts for about 17% of U.S. oil production. Returning operations to normal as quickly and safely as possible is critical not just for the state, but for the entire nation.

A secure and reliable supply of fuel is essential for evacuation and recovery efforts. Careful planning helps industry safely provide fuel for citizen evacuations, emergency agencies, hospitals and other critical infrastructure to keep the state operating safely. Refineries are committed to continue producing fuel as long as the weather permits them to do so safely. If required to shut down or scale back operations, they work tirelessly to safely return to normal operations as soon as conditions allow.

Beyond protecting our facilities, employees and environment, companies also invest heavily in hurricane protection and restoration projects throughout Louisiana’s coast that help make our communities safer and stronger for future generations.

For better or worse, Louisiana’s experience in dealing with weather-related natural disasters in the years since Hurricane Katrina has caused the state to emerge as a leader in disaster preparation and response. After Katrina, the Fuel Team, which is housed in the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, was tasked with the all-important role of protecting our fuel supply in the event of a disaster, including but certainly not limited to hurricanes.

To meet this goal, the Fuel Team drafted and maintains Louisiana’s Fuel Team Playbook, which contains vital information and procedures to address numerous scenarios and challenges disasters impose upon the fuel supply. This document is so thorough and useful that other states have taken it upon themselves to create their own playbooks modeled off of it.

Before, during and after a storm, the Fuel Team facilitates the critical lines of communication between industry, regulators and distributors. This communication is key to ensuring fuel makes it to those who need it the most. LMOGA is happy to represent Louisiana’s refineries when communicating with the Fuel Team to ensure information is shared in the most efficient manner.

Safety is of paramount importance to Louisiana’s oil and gas industry and the entire industry is committed to maintaining safe operations while providing fuel for the public before, during and after a storm this hurricane season.

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