Gas Stations Return to Normal as Petroleum Industry Looks for Stability After Harvey
SAN ANGELO, TX --The long lines are gone, the gas pumps are open and social media posts are back to normal showing pictures of children, pets and food.
Friday morning reporters visited 15 gas stations; 13 had gas and two did not.
H-E-B had fuel as did Walmart, Jack’s Convenience Stores and many Stripes and Alon locations.
In San Angelo and around Texas social media posts caused anxious drivers to swarm gas stations throughout the day in fear of an alleged gas shortage. As we reported throughout the day Thursday, there is no shortage of gas. “We have gasoline. We have enough gasoline across the country and we have enough gasoline in Texas. So don’t go run out and fill up your tank, you’re ok.” Said Rail Road Commissioner Christi Craddick Thursday.
Today refineries are assessing damage and determining how to stabilize the Texas fuel supply.
Hurricane Harvey has forced refineries along the Texas coast to temporarily suspend their full production capabilities. Precautionary measures to activate controlled and temporary suspensions of operations were conducted to ensure refineries remained safe and capable of returning to full capacity once Hurricane Harvey passed.
“This is an unprecedented event that has challenged many industries,” said Paul Hardin, President of the Texas Food & Fuel Association. “The entire petroleum distribution chain has been challenged with meeting an increased demand for gasoline and diesel during a time when fuel distribution is disrupted and supply is strained,” Hardin added.
Refineries are currently in the assessing whether or not they have suffered any damage. They are also developing timelines to resume full production.
Adding to the strain of the fuel distribution network are long lines at terminals for fuel distributors. Hardin said, “Gas stations get their fuel delivered to them from terminals via trucks — think of terminals as gas stations for gas stations — this process normally takes about an hour, today, we are hearing of fuel distributors waiting six to ten hours.”
In addition to long lines at fuel terminals, distributors are having to conduct their own assessments of equipment and property damage. The good news is that fuel retailers (gas stations) near the Harvey impact zone have begun to conduct their own assessments and have returned to full operation, dispensing as much fuel as possible.
As each day goes by the number of retailers returning to full operation will continue to increase. However, consumers will see gas stations without fuel as the fuel supply will vary by location. There is no master list of gas stations that are out of fuel.
“The industry is on allocation due to the number of terminals that have been taken out of service, which has constrained the loading ability at fuel terminals across the state,” said Hardin.
At the moment, demand is outweighing supply; however, the refineries have an abundance of crude oil to refine and are poised to respond when refineries are back in operation. A number of waivers have been activated by various levels of government which serve to increase options for supply points to extend existing inventories for their maximum benefit. As emergency relief efforts continue in and around the impacted areas, ensuring emergency responders have the necessary fuel resources will continue to be the highest priority.
The fuel supply industry is responding as quickly as possible to restore normalcy to the distribution network and reduce the inconvenience consumers may be feeling at the pump in areas outside of the immediate disaster area.