Last week’s deadly Oklahoma tornado has left relatively intact one of the state’s biggest and fastest-growing industries: energy. A boom in US oil and gas production is underway with drilling rigs, storage tanks, and pipelines increasingly dotting the country’s landscape. Some of the development is taking place in and around so-called “tornado alley,” an unofficial swath of much of Oklahoma and Texas that spills over into surrounding states most prone to tornadoes.
This may sound more worrying than it is. While hurricanes routinely disrupt offshore oil and gas production in the Gulf and elsewhere, inland, rigs, pipelines, and tanks are comparably unaffected by extreme weather – most of the time.
“I don’t see a tornado disrupting our mass oil and gas delivery methods. [Pipelines] are typically underground and the substations around the routes are very small, low profile, and very rigid.