Superstorm Sandy shows vulnerability of energy infrastructure

The damage left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy demonstrates both the benefit of the country's distributed refinery and pipeline network and the need for even more diversification.
by Adam Wilmoth Modified: November 8, 2012 at 7:34 pm •  Published: November 9, 2012
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Hurricane Sandy has taught us valuable lessons about the country's energy infrastructure.

The damage left in the wake of the Halloween hurricane-nor'easter mashup demonstrates both the benefit of the country's distributed refinery and pipeline network and the need for even more diversification.

Gasoline prices throughout most of the country have continued their monthlong slide even after the storm shut in two large crude oil refineries in Pennsylvania.

The largest in the region — the Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery — is still at least two weeks away from reopening.

Part of the reason for the continued price drop is that demand for gasoline in several of the country's largest cities all but disappeared for days as the storm flooded taxis and buses and grounded subways and trains throughout the region.

Prices nationwide also were unaffected by the hurricane because most of the country's refineries are in other parts of the country.

Nationwide, the price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline averaged $3.46 on Thursday, down from $3.81 one month ago, according to reports on FuelGaugeReport.com. In Oklahoma, the average price settled at $3.19 a gallon, down from $3.63 one month ago.

Gas stations in Oklahoma are supplied mostly from the four refineries in the state, with support from Houston refineries.

The Midwest is fueled mostly from refineries in Illinois and other Midwestern locations.

The Southeast gets its gasoline and diesel from Louisiana and Texas.

California has its own refineries that make the special, cleaner-burning fuel the Golden State requires.


by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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