• 4 hours EIA Weekly Inventory Data Due Wednesday, Despite Govt. Shutdown
  • 8 hours Oklahoma Rig Explodes, Leaving Five Missing
  • 10 hours Lloyd’s Sees No Room For Coal In New Investment Strategy
  • 13 hours Gunmen Kidnap Nigerian Oil Workers In Oil-Rich Delta Area
  • 15 hours Libya’s NOC Restarts Oil Fields
  • 16 hours US Orion To Develop Gas Field In Iraq
  • 3 days U.S. On Track To Unseat Saudi Arabia As No.2 Oil Producer In the World
  • 3 days Senior Interior Dept. Official Says Florida Still On Trump’s Draft Drilling Plan
  • 3 days Schlumberger Optimistic In 2018 For Oilfield Services Businesses
  • 3 days Only 1/3 Of Oil Patch Jobs To Return To Canada After Downturn Ends
  • 4 days Statoil, YPF Finalize Joint Vaca Muerta Development Deal
  • 4 days TransCanada Boasts Long-Term Commitments For Keystone XL
  • 4 days Nigeria Files Suit Against JP Morgan Over Oil Field Sale
  • 4 days Chinese Oil Ships Found Violating UN Sanctions On North Korea
  • 4 days Oil Slick From Iranian Tanker Explosion Is Now The Size Of Paris
  • 4 days Nigeria Approves Petroleum Industry Bill After 17 Long Years
  • 4 days Venezuelan Output Drops To 28-Year Low In 2017
  • 4 days OPEC Revises Up Non-OPEC Production Estimates For 2018
  • 5 days Iraq Ready To Sign Deal With BP For Kirkuk Fields
  • 5 days Kinder Morgan Delays Trans Mountain Launch Again
  • 5 days Shell Inks Another Solar Deal
  • 5 days API Reports Seventh Large Crude Draw In Seven Weeks
  • 5 days Maduro’s Advisors Recommend Selling Petro At Steep 60% Discount
  • 5 days EIA: Shale Oil Output To Rise By 1.8 Million Bpd Through Q1 2019
  • 5 days IEA: Don’t Expect Much Oil From Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Before 2030
  • 6 days Minister Says Norway Must Prepare For Arctic Oil Race With Russia
  • 6 days Eight Years Late—UK Hinkley Point C To Be In Service By 2025
  • 6 days Sunk Iranian Oil Tanker Leave Behind Two Slicks
  • 6 days Saudi Arabia Shuns UBS, BofA As Aramco IPO Coordinators
  • 6 days WCS-WTI Spread Narrows As Exports-By-Rail Pick Up
  • 6 days Norway Grants Record 75 New Offshore Exploration Leases
  • 6 days China’s Growing Appetite For Renewables
  • 6 days Chevron To Resume Drilling In Kurdistan
  • 7 days India Boosts Oil, Gas Resource Estimate Ahead Of Bidding Round
  • 7 days India’s Reliance Boosts Export Refinery Capacity By 30%
  • 7 days Nigeria Among Worst Performers In Electricity Supply
  • 7 days ELN Attacks Another Colombian Pipeline As Ceasefire Ceases
  • 7 days Shell Buys 43.8% Stake In Silicon Ranch Solar
  • 7 days Saudis To Award Nuclear Power Contracts In December
  • 7 days Shell Approves Its First North Sea Oil Project In Six Years
Alt Text

Busting The Five Biggest Oil Market Myths

In recent years there have…

Alt Text

Coastal States Protest Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plan

President Trump’s proposal to open…

Alt Text

Could An Oil Surplus Be A Sign Of Things To Come?

The world economy badly needs…

Haley Zaremba

Haley Zaremba

Haley Zaremba is a writer and journalist based in Mexico City. She has extensive experience writing and editing environmental features, travel pieces, local news in the…

More Info

Puerto Rico Could Face 6 Months Without Power

Puerto Rico

After Puerto Rico was pummeled by Hurricane Maria last week, a Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds, the island has been left in shambles. After suffering widespread power outages thanks to Irma, 1 million Puerto Ricans were left without electricity. 60,000 still hadn’t gotten power when Maria brought a total, island-wide power outage and severe shortages in food, water, and other supplies.

As of today there’s still no power on the island except for a handful of generators powering high-priority buildings like select hospitals, and the island likely won’t return to full power for another half a year. This also means that there are next to zero working cell phone towers and no reception anywhere on the island.

Due to the blackout, many residents are relying on small gas-fed generators, and fuel is running out (though authorities in Puerto Rico insist that it’s a distribution problem, not a shortage). Puerto Ricans are waiting in six-hour lines for fuel, while many stations have run completely dry. In most of Puerto Rico there’s no water either - that means no showers, no flushable toilets, and no drinkable water that’s not out of a bottle. In some of the remoter parts of the island, rescue workers are just barely beginning to arrive.

Related: Is This The End Of U.S. Dominance In Global Energy?

Puerto Rico is experiencing all of the normal catastrophes brought on by a major hurricane - and then some. In Houston after Harvey and Florida after Irma, wastewater pumping systems failed, causing significant sewage spillage. The same is almost guaranteed to happen in Puerto Rico thanks to the sustained power outages, but will be greatly exacerbated by the fact that the island’s electrical system was already “degraded and unsafe”.

In fact, nearly every problem typically faced in the wake of natural disaster will be amplified and accelerated in Puerto Rico thanks to long-existing financial and environmental problems and far fewer rescue and relief workers. Florida and Texas also dealt with contamination from Superfund sites, but Puerto Rico has a whopping 23 in its relatively tiny area.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Public Services, a superfund site is “any land in the United States that has been contaminated by hazardous waste and identified by the EPA as a candidate for cleanup because it poses a risk to human health and/or the environment.” These sites are put on the National Priorities List (NPL), a list of the most dire cases of environmental contamination in the U.S. and its territories. These are places where a person can’t even walk on the ground and breathe the air without seriously endangering their health.

Even within the designation of Superfund, sites can be ranked in their level of catastrophism, and Puerto Rico is home to one of the very worst. For sixty years the U.S. military used Vieques, an outlying island, for extensive bomb testing. Two thirds of the island now have extreme levels of contamination which have been related to disproportionately high cancer rates among the 9,000 residents. Even today Vieques remains blanketed with unexploded bombs, bullets, and projectiles.

Related: Oil Analysts Baffled As Venezuela Ditches Petrodollar

Puerto Rico also has more contaminants to worry about thanks to the coal industry, which has been stockpiling coal ash in southern Puerto Rico. According to Adriana Gonzales of the Sierra Club, an uncovered five-story pile of coal ash situated next to a low-income and minority community in the town of Guayama threatens to toxify the entire area thanks to its content of heavy metals like arsenic, mercury, and chromium that will be released when the rain liquefies the ash.

The coal industry also dumped thousands of tons of coal ash in Puerto Rican landfills for years, a common practice that has recently mushroomed into a disaster as local landfills overflow thanks to the territory’s financial crisis. While the ash is not Puerto Rico’s (it’s owned by Pennsylvania-based Applied Energy Systems) they are now faced with its toxic burden, despite the fact that the Puerto Rican government ordered the company to cover and secure the pile under the threat of Hurricane Irma, weeks before Maria hit.

Puerto Rico’s fallout of Maria will result in a long, long road to recovery. Even though the island is home to 3.5 million U.S. citizens, help is few and far between compared to response in the U.S., and the island’s pre-existing poverty and environmentally dangerous Superfund Sites will make rebuilding a tricky and toxic business, costing in the billions of dollars.

By Haley Zaremba for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Naomi on September 29 2017 said:
    Puerto Rico power has no cash for repairs, no credit to borrow, and no paying customers. The problem has nothing to do with hurricanes. The problem is Puerto Ricans.
  • Paul Faso on September 30 2017 said:
    The whole idea of a vast central grid transmitting electricity over power lines that has not technologically changed since the late 19th century is the real problem all over the world. This should be a wake up call to everyone on the planet to begin the energy revolution in earnest, to have every home and building self powered so that total blackouts are impossible.

    The very edge of this technology is highlighted at;

    "EVUR - ELECTRIC VEHICLE UNLIMITED RANGE"
    www.evur.us
  • Doug McManus on October 02 2017 said:
    The problem is not power, there are two Nuclear Submarines' in port that can generate 5.6 gigawatts. The grid is down.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News