Natural Disaster Planning in the Petrochemical and Energy Sector

When considering the impact of a natural disaster, the foremost consideration is the impact to people in the region. The cost of lives and damage to private property. School closures, stifled food supplies and limited or restricted access to public areas are just a few common consequences of natural disasters. This ‘human impact’ is the picture portrayed in the media and the narrative that is projected to the wider world. A disruption in the energy supply similarly has a widespread effect on every aspect of life from turning the lights on at home to powering hospitals.

The impact of circumstances such as natural disasters, can significantly impact the operation and safety of oil refineries and power plants. These effects can be particularly adverse and dangerous for those containing toxic materials and hazardous chemicals which could further impact the environment and residents surrounding the area. Production is halted, supply is limited and, as was seen in the case of Hurricane Katrina, damage can be widespread and long lasting. Lessons have been learned since instances like Hurricane Katrina, and now there is legislation and frameworks in place to help prepare for such disasters.

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Sara Mathov is a feature editor contributing to Valve World Americas, Stainless steel World Americas and other related print & online media.