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Texas Railroad Commission Issues Cold Weather Warning To Oil & Gas Industry

The Railroad Commission of Texas has issued a warning on Thursday to oil and gas pipeline operators that next week will see “significantly colder temperatures.”

A statement from the RRC of Texas cited the National Weather Service, which is predicting periods of colder temperatures for the latter part of next week. The RRC is recommending that oil and gas pipeline operators monitor weather reports, and secure all personnel, equipment, and facilities to prevent injury, as well as prepare operations for potential impacts.

In February 2021, Texas found itself woefully underprepared for freezing temperatures. When Texas temperatures dip as low as they did then, the state relies heavily on natural gas. But its natural gas-fired power plants faced a myriad of problems such as components freezing, forcing some shutdowns.

Texas saw problems beyond natural gas. Wind turbines in the state froze, and some natural gas production was shut in due to freezing temperatures. Even a nuclear power plant saw a partial shutdown.

The problems came at a time when the demand for electricity due to the cold snap far exceeded what the Electric Reliability Council of Texas predicted for the storm.

Since Texas’ disastrous performance in February 2021 that ended in hundreds of lives lost due to the power outages, the state has vowed to do better. This year, Texas will be tested next week and over Christmas if the Artic weather stays the course heading east.

The weather forecast for the next week is for the entire state to see temperatures lower than average, with central Texas set to see the coldest—30 degrees below the state’s average. Single digits could even be seen on some nights as far south as Dallas.

This time around, the cold temperatures won’t be combined with ice or snow storms—and the worst of the lower temperatures may only last for a day or tow. But with the wounds fresh from last year’s freeze, the RCC and ERCOT are likely to remain vigilant ahead of any cold snap.

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By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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