The nation’s oil and gas companies are diligently preparing for the 2021 hurricane season, according to an American Petroleum Institute security and emergency expert who recently led a conference call discussion with energy industry experts.
“We’re trying to be as prepared as possible in 2021,” said Suzanne Lemieux, API’s operations security and emergency manager. She indicated that oil and gas companies have increased the frequency of emergency drills.
Lake Charles, Louisiana’s 2020 storms resulted in shuttering two refineries in the area for months.
Jeff Gunnulfsen, director of security and risk management for American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, advised that Gulf Coast refiners have increased communication with government agencies and other industries in addition to repositioning equipment to avoid flooding.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has forecast an active Atlantic hurricane season between three and five major hurricanes this year, with sustained winds of at least 111 mph. NOAA anticipates between six and 10 hurricanes with winds of at least 74 mph are expected out of 13-20 tropical storms during 2021. Tropical storms have winds of at least 39 mph.
The Atlantic average for hurricanes between 1991 and 2020 is three major hurricanes, seven hurricanes and 14 tropical storms.