It’s Hurricane Season, But Don’t Worry – Your Fuel Distributor is Prepared

Justin Christensen |

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One third of the way into hurricane season, there is still plenty of time for active weather. Even with milder predictions, storms can take unexpected turns and leave a trail of disaster behind them.

Based on many years of experience, the oil and gas industry takes a number of measures to prepare for the worst. The American Petroleum Institute (API) is key in these operations with two main functions:

  1. Provide valuable information on environmental and storm conditions and using that to make both on and offshore facilities less susceptible;
  2. Work with all levels of government, other industries such as utilities, and member companies to prepare accordingly, and restore activity as swiftly and safely as possible.

Months and Weeks

Well in advance, pipeline companies and refiners are busy behind the scenes developing protocols, procedures and plans of action, including:

  • Arranging backup generators and collaborating with governments to establish refineries and pipelines as “critical” facilities for power supply.
  • Identifying priority areas with power utilities for restoration to resume operations and minimize distribution and delivery disruptions.
  • Coordinating emergency supplies and services with various vendors for essentials such as transportation, food and water.
  • Reinforcing onshore facilities and raised equipment to reduce flood damage.
  • Reviewing and revising business flow and emergency response measures.

Days and Hours

In the days and hours leading up to a hurricane’s arrival and during the period of the storm, pipeline companies and refineries activate another set of measures:

  • Drilling and production areas commence the shut down process.
  • Personnel evacuate from rigs and platforms and relocate drill ships to safe areas.
  • Experts conduct “flyovers” to identify damaged equipment and facilities both on and offshore, infrastructure, flooding and spills.
  • Staff use GPS to monitor locations of offshore rigs.
  • Refiners will evacuate non-essential personnel and either reduce or shutdown operations.

Fuel Distributors

Your dedicated fuel distributor works under similar timelines in their preparations. When a hurricane or tropical storm moves into the Gulf of Mexico, daily diesel and gasoline consumption triples. Lineups get longer and the distribution system is strained.

Here are some of the ways they get ready to help you:

  • Raising Inventory: Ensuring their storage tanks and trucks are full and ready, so adequate fuel supply is available to replenish your tanks and equipment prior to and after the storm period.
  • Investing in Generators: Power outages are common during severe storms. Having access to electricity will help to minimize service, supply and delivery disruptions to you.
  • Communicating: Staying in touch with you and up-to-date with information from local authorities on flooding, infrastructure, traffic and fuel demands enable them to serve you more efficiently.
  • Maintaining Fuel and Equipment: Preventing fuel contamination by protecting their equipment and yours, especially during storms when flooding can occur, allows business to continue as usual.
  • Price Protection and Monitoring: Arranging price protection in advance will help keep your budget more manageable during storms or fluctuating market conditions. They can also help you to ensure compliance with anti-gouging laws.
  • Automating: Staying current with technology means optimal operations in areas such as pricing, inventory and delivery or periods of disruption.

Partnering with a reliable fuel distributor can make the good times great and the difficult times manageable. Preparing for a hurricane is just another aspect of doing business; we have the knowledge, experience and solutions you need to get through storm season with as little disruption as possible.