Is the Texas Oil Industry Prepared for a Hurricane?

Oct 11, 2016

A lone home left standing in September 2008 after Hurricane Ike in Gilchrist, Texas.
Credit Smiley N. Pool / Getty Images/NY TImes

As the East Coast deals with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, oil analysts are worried about the effects such a storm might have on the Texas oil and gas industry.

As The New York Times reports, few American cities are more vulnerable to hurricanes than Houston and Galveston. And none of the other cities are as crucial to the economy. A massive hurricane ramming into the Texas coast could have global economic consequences.

Galveston Bay is responsible for 25 percent of the United States’s petroleum refining. And Houston is the second busiest port in the United States, and one of the most important shipping points in the country for liquid natural gas. A devastating earthquake would shut all of it down. And to date, the fight to protect the Texas coast from storms has been has been mainly reactive. That means always planning for the last big storm, rarely for the next.