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Offshore Oil Discoveries Thrive

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ERCOT: Texas Is Ready For The Winter

Texas is now ready for the winter, the state's Electric Reliability Council, ERCOT, reported to the Public Utilities Commission.

Per a report by the Houston Chronicle, ERCOT has inspected all power generation and transmission facilities in the state, and all but three power plants passed the test, which makes 321 out of 324.

The inspections come after last year's sweeping cold wave—dubbed the Texas Freeze—caused power plant outages that left millions without electricity, in some cases for several days. The Freeze also caused the biggest oil production decline in U.S. history as well, temporarily taking 40 percent of national production offline.

Natural gas production also collapsed, by 45 percent, primarily due to freeze-offs, as the infrastructure in Texas is more susceptible to extreme cold snaps, unlike the relatively winterized natural gas production infrastructure in the northern parts of the United States.

The combination of a spike in consumption for heating purposes and the drop in supply because of outages contributed to what became a perfect storm for the nation's biggest oil and wind power producers.

The crisis prompted a string of winterization efforts by ERCOT, which bore the brunt of criticism about how Texas handled the unusual cold snap. Among the effects of the Freeze was the fact that some 51.173 GW of Texas' 82.513 GW power generation capacity was taken offline along with oil and gas wells.

"The Texas electric grid is more prepared for winter operations than ever before," said the interim chief executive of ERCOT, Brad Jones, as quoted by the Houston Chronicle.

"We are confident these 321 inspected facilities either meet or go beyond the new requirements from the commission and we will continue to work with the other 3 facilities to ensure they correct remaining deficiencies," said Woody Rickerson, ERXOT vice president of system planning weatherization, as quoted by the Chronicle.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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