Oil and gas operators in Texas should be prepared for severe winter weather this week, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) said on Sunday, as snow and ice conditions are expected in parts of the biggest U.S. oil-producing state, including in parts of the Permian basin.
The RRC advised all operators under its jurisdiction in areas of potential impact to heed all watches, warnings, and orders issued by local emergency officials, and secure all personnel, equipment, and facilities to prevent injury or damage. Operators were also advised to monitor and prepare operations for potential impacts, as safety permits.
Severe winter weather with low temperatures could lead to freeze-offs of oil- and gas-producing equipment and frozen pipeline valves and other infrastructure.
Winter Weather Advisories and Winter Storm Watches are in effect across parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas for winter weather and hazardous travel starting Monday, the National Weather Service said on Sunday.
The Midland chapter of the NWS said that a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect on Monday morning for the eastern Permian Basin, where a light glaze of ice is expected. On Tuesday and Wednesday, A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for the eastern Permian Basin for potential ice accumulations up to 0.25".
Early on Monday, freezing drizzle continued to spread across the Permian Basin, with visibility lowered in Hobbs and Midland/Odessa.
The previous severe winter event occurred just before Christmas when Winter Storm Elliott exposed the vulnerability of the energy system as natural gas and power supplies were strained, wells froze off, and utilities vastly underestimated the power demand during the huge storm.
Back then, Texas managed to avoid rolling blackouts, but power providers in other states implemented planned interruptions to manage the surge in power demand during the storm. While the Texas power grid managed to avoid catastrophic failures during the storm, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) underestimated the surge in power demand.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com