Oil refineries and North

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Fuel Production Plants-Gary North-this is about iol refineries that are unable to cope with the task. He is following a lead and does not say the story is true. I thought I saw something on this forum about oil refineries. Does anyone remember seeing it and please tell me where.

-- Linda A. (adahi@muhlon.com), December 01, 1998


Linda, see the thread "Just when I thought it couldn't get worse...comments? (Steve Hartsman, 1998-11-30)"

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), December 01, 1998.

this story is indeed one of the scariest i've ready about y2k yet. i know its 'unconfirmed'. but a story like this would almost certainly never be verified by the powers-that-be.

i believe that any of us that know engineers that work at petroleum refineries in the appropriate areas try to find out if this is true.

this would absolutely be the end of the world as we know it if true. God help us all.

-- Lou Navarro (lanny1@ix.netcom.com), December 01, 1998.

It's true. The facts are in the report at


"It is estimated that the average oil and gas firm, starting today, can expect to remediate less than 30% of the overall potential failure points in the production environment. This reality shifts the focus of the solution away from trying to fix the problem, to planning strategies that would minimize potential damage and mitigate potential safety hazards."

The authors of the report are two PhDs and an IT management consultant with a combined total of 65 years experience in the industry.

This report was the basis of Sen. Thurmond's question to the Pentagon's Dr. Hamre a few months ago, "What is the military's contingency plan if 70% of the oil refineries shutdown [because of Y2K]?" So far the question has not been answered.

Hold on folks -- it's gonna be one hell of a ride...

-- a (a@a.a), December 01, 1998.

The oil refinery situation and the Infomagic comprehensive y2k analysis are the two most important things we need to consider about y2k. In fact, they are probably about the only things we need to think about, other than water, food, guns and shelter.

-- cody varian (cody@y2ksurvive.com), December 01, 1998.

I'm not posting with my usual name as like most people in large companies, I have signed a contract that says I will not divulge any company information.

I know many engineers in the oil (refinery type operation) industry. I also know many that are working on the Y2K project. People, although there are challenges, it is not the end of the world. GN's article about refineries basically shutting down because they can't be fixed is utter bullshit.

This topic was covered a few threads back started by I believe Steve Hartsman. There are straightforward answers in there that talk about the fact that refineries are constantly being upgraded and modified and parts are being replaced.

Yes, there is the potential for periodic shutdown, which BTW, is normal for these types of operations. Perhaps a shutdown may last a little longer than usual. Perhaps it will be a little less safe for a while. But for heavens sake, let's cut out the groundless fear- mongering.

-- Oilman (oilman@coldplace.com), December 02, 1998.

Oilman, thanks for your response. Please give us periodic updates.

-- Steve Hartsman (hartsman@ticon.net), December 02, 1998.

Oilman: Not groundless fear mongering by any stretch of the imagination.

In fact, in light of what little actual information is being provided by those industries tasked with providing our critical infrastructure, we are left with little option but to be genuinely concerned.

I believe a company's right to confidentiality ends where the threat to my family's safety begins.

Yes, on any given day in such a complex facility as an oil refinery, failures occur, and they are most times dealt with successfully as they occur. The people responsible get busy and do whatever it takes to fix the problem.

I have spoken to many people now involved in a wide variety of industries (power, telecom, banking, etc.) and most make this very point. That is, such failures occur all the time and we successfully deal with them. Therefore, Y2K is no problem (or at least only a minor inconvenience).

But therein lies the rub. The assumption is that the infrastructure you will need to sucessfully address such problems will remain intact. This assumption is not necessarily valid for Y2K. It represents vertical thinking about Y2K and is what I consider to be one of the greatest dangers. Multiple simultaneous failures can and will interfere with a company's ability to deal with such problems in the normal fashion.

That's why contingency planning which includes stockpiling of critical parts and inventory is so essential to both businesses and individuals/families. Numerous 'what if this service/part is unavailable' scenarios must be considered and planned for.

No, you can't ever gaurantee with absolute certainty that you are prepared, but the vast majority of companies and individuals could be doing a heck of a lot better than they are.

I would feel much more comfortable to learn that refineries are laying in a 3-6 month supply of goods needed to continue production, that alternative sources for such goods were being developed. That manual work-arounds for everything from control systems to accounting systems were being developed and practiced. That the refinery was prepared to go for 3-6 months without an outside source of electricty.

Speculation naturally fills the vacuum. In the absence of hard evidence, we must assume that we cannot depend on this critical resource to continue flowing. It seems to me that the hard evidence I seek will not be forthcoming.

Thus, I had better depend upon myself to prepare for such a disruption. If I don't prepare and such an event does occur, it could very easily cost our entire family their lives.

Darker speculations may not turn out to be true, however, the concerns which they express are not groundless. Not when it's you and your family's safety on the line.


-- Arnie Rimmer (Arnie_Rimmer@usa.net), December 02, 1998.

Before anyone starts taking potshots at me for siding with the oil folks .. try to remember I'm on your side...

Re-read the article .. it can be interpreted in at least two ways... a second take on it doesn't say that refineries will only be 30% compliant ..

"It is estimated that the average oil and gas firm, starting today, can expect to remediate less than 30% of the overall potential failure points in the production environment....."

We can also be read to mean _if_ an oil refining company were to *START* remedial work today .. the company can expect to complete only 30% of the task. It doesn't say that refineries WILL be only 30% compliant on January 1, 2000 .. just that those =starting= now can expect to attain that level. Anyone know of a site that tracks published facts regarding refinery remediation progress?

Quite candidly .. the refinery issue may be completely moot without oil. According to industry figures, the USA imports roughly 60% of the petroleum used in this country. The oil tanker industry has already admitted that they're behind the remediation curve and in trouble. The tanker story comes directly from the horse's mouth so to speak .. a tanker industry representative testifying before a congressional committee... Here's a direct quote from the testimony and the link where you can read the entire context:

"Within our industry, there have already been reports of documented Y2K failures of ship main control, radar mapping, ballast monitoring, cargo loading, engine room vibration, and ship performance monitoring systems. None of these failure to date has resulted in major losses and some were intentionally induced as part of Y2K assessment procedures."

.... and further down ...

"We are concerned about problems that may occur at the links between different sectors of our industry. A tanker company may successfully resolve its Y2K problems, but find that a terminal cannot load or receive a cargo discharge. Aids to navigation and vessel traffic control systems could be affected in ways that will adversely impact our abilities to navigate safely. I cite these examples to indicate that there will be no partial victories in the race to identify and resolve Y2K problems. We will only succeed if everyone in every sector succeeds."

The URL is:http://www.house.gov/transportation/y2k/benner.htm

(and my attempt at an active link...)

http://www.h ouse.gov/transportation/y2k/benner.htm

Keep up the diligence everyone...


-- Dan (DanTCC@Yahoo.com), December 02, 1998.

Well put, Arnie!

-- Vic Parker (rdrunner@internetwork.net), December 02, 1998.

Keep in mind the words of a lawyer from the Alliant Power Company. "We are recommending that people get generators." That about sums up the situation.


-- Dave (dave22@concentric.net), December 02, 1998.


Do you have a link for that statement...? Who and where it was said to buy a generator...?

Would like to show it to the in-laws who give me *that* smile and nod their heads when I talk about Y2k.



-- scholty (scholty@waymark.net), December 02, 1998.

Dan: The report I referenced referred to companies that started in April 1998 - 8 months ago.

Oilman: Arnie is exactly right. Problems are not going to be near as easy to fix post-Y2K, when every company in every industry in the world is going to be scrambling to repair their systems while power, telecom, transport, banking, and every other service is convulsing. The Milne, and to a lesser extent, Infomagic scenarios are plausible and the public should be prepared to deal with them accordingly.

The 70% figure is straight out of a Sep 1998 DoD Y2K briefing. Your argument is not with North, its with Sen. Strom Thurmond, chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee.

North is doing the right thing to post what he hears regarding oil. 95% of what he posts is documented by fact. Look at his posts on the Mobile/Exxon merger. IMHO their SEC filings are nothing but a damn scam to cover their bottom line...at least for a while.

-- a (a@a.a), December 02, 1998.

scholty: http://www.jsonline.com/archive/oct98/news/1008elec.asp

-- a (a@a.a), December 02, 1998.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ