Missing paperwork made winter storm outages worse, Texas Oil and Gas Association says
The association said power outages up and down the natural gas supply chain resulted in problems at power plants.
TEXAS, USA — Texas Oil and Gas Association President Todd Staples said on Thursday that many of the power outages in the state’s natural gas supply line during February’s historic winter storm could have been prevented with a simple two-page form from ERCOT.
Unfortunately, he said many companies were unaware of that form.
The association released an outside study detailing power outages in the state’s natural gas supply line. The study surveyed oil and gas operators that are representative of 51% of natural gas production in Texas with questions regarding their experiences during Winter Storm Uri and how their operations were impacted.
In a news release detailing the study said that power outages in the natural gas supply chain either reduced or shut down natural gas production during February’s storm.
Staples further stated, during an online news conference, that many of the outages were actually caused deliberately by power transmission companies like Oncor and CenterPoint Energy when ERCOT told them to shed load from the power grid. The production companies could have filled out an ERCOT form allowing them to be designated as critical infrastructure, but many did not, he said.
“There is an old form that was there during the storm and since then they revised it in March of 2021. We don’t think that either one of them provides the clarity that is necessary to properly ensure critical load designation occurs to the level it needs to,” Staples said. “Quite frankly, I don’t think many in the industry knew about it. That goes to communications being a major factor that needs to be improved.”
Staples also confirmed the form is completely voluntary, so even some companies that were aware of it may not have taken advantage.
The reduction in natural gas supply was not the main reason for outages across the state, although ERCOT lists the majority of outages as simply “weather related” in an April 6 report. Staples said weatherization was absolutely an issue that needed to be addressed.