Natural gas industry says producers are better preparing their facilities for winter – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Like millions of other Texans, Richardson’s Micki Webb had little to no electricity during the February winter storms that claimed the lives of 210 people statewide.

“We lost power for about a week,” she said.

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While enjoying a walk in bright sunshine on Thursday, Webb wondered if this would happen again.

“I am afraid this will happen, and the concern is that people have died from this event,” Webb said.

Recently passed laws require power stations and other generators to tamper with their facilities this winter to protect against another severe storm.

But some energy experts have reportedly expressed concern that the natural gas industry, which helps keep the lights on, will not be ready this winter.

In a legislative hearing in September, state lawmakers grilled Wei Wang, the executive director of the Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry in Texas.

Wang discussed a proposed rule the agency was considering whereby natural gas producers could choose not to be on a critical infrastructure list for the agency’s standard fee of $ 150.

On Thursday, Wayne Christian, who was elected to the Railway Commission and is now its chairman, told me that the agency would not facilitate the exit of natural gas producers.

“When the public hears ‘oh’ it gives everyone an option, it’s by federal law,” Christian said. We need to. But to make it more expensive, we will. And to identify critical businesses that can’t walk away without significant penalty, which we’ll identify. “

Christian said the agency is still deciding which growers should be on a list of critical infrastructure and standards for growers to withstand the elements of their facilities.

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He said some companies don’t wait for the standards.

“I went to West Texas. I visited a few companies there, ”Christian said. “They show how they learned to wrap the pipes, to bring in heaters. But again, the problem was not so much natural gas production during the storm, as the roads were frozen. Workers could not access the well heads.

Christian participated in a panel discussion at the Texas Oil and Gas Association’s Lone Star Energy Forum in Irving.

Todd Staples, president of the association, agrees with Christian.

“Our companies use a variety of winterizing methods,” Staples said. “We work with a sense of urgency and to be ready. Maintaining food is the best wintering tool there is.

The state solved another problem in February; he put power plants on a list of critical infrastructure so that they don’t lose power to generate electricity like some have.

Micki Webb said she hopes the state’s actions so far will prevent widespread blackouts from happening again.

“The proof is in the pudding, and when we get into winter we’ll know for sure, right?” ” she asked.

According to long-term energy experts, Texas must decide what types of energy to produce and how much to keep your lights on.

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