Energy companies in Texas are locking down operations as a hurricane barreling toward the state is expected to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Oil refineries around the coastal town of Corpus Christi are shutting down for the hurricane. The price of crude oil is falling with the decrease in demand.
Gas prices are rising as companies predict shortages from an increased demand for fuel coupled with less of its production, according to the WSJ.
Harvey is expected to hit Texas with winds above 111 miles per hour, making it a category three hurricane. It will be the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, The Washington Post reports.
“Life-threatening rainfall and flash flooding appears imminent for much of South Central Texas,” the National Weather Service (NWS) reported Friday morning.
“Sturdy buildings” could suffer damage from “complete roof and wall failures.” Areas hit by the hurricane may not be habitable for weeks or months, according to the NWS.
The energy industry’s priorities have changed in the last decade. Companies are focused on protecting refineries and their ability to process crude oil rather than the pumping it up from the ground, the WSJ reports.
Fracking has allowed oil companies to tap into oilfields away from coastal regions and stabilize crude oil production.
“It’s a new world since the last storm,” Mizuho Securities USA futures division director Bob Yawger told the WSJ. “In 10 years, the whole situation in the U.S. has changed.”
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