Experts talk Hurricane Harvey’s impact on Colorado oil and gas industry
HOW TO HELP
United Way of Weld County is passing on 100 percent of donations for flood relief to local United Ways in Texas and Louisiana.
To learn more, or to donate, call United Way of Weld County at (970) 353-4300 or go to bit.ly/2vCblem.
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman urged caution, prudence and research before donating.
Natural and man-made disasters always give rise to fake charity and other donation scams, she said in a new release Tuesday,
“Coloradans are extremely generous, and I know many people, myself included, are watching the tragedy unfold in Texas and are looking for ways to help,” Coffman said in the release. “It is important to take a few quick steps to ensure that these needed donations are really going to victims or to organizations providing victim and community support.”
» Research the charity before you donate. Search online for substantiating information as well as for their reputation using services like http://www.ChecktheCharity.com, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance at http://www.give.org, or others.
» Be especially wary of brand-new charities and crowdfunding. Even if they are well-intentioned, they may not have the necessary infrastructure to provide relief or services to the victims.
» Do not respond to unsolicited solicitations that arrive by phone, email, pop-up messages, or even door-to-door.
» Avoid charities or fundraisers that refuse to provide detailed information about their identity, mission, costs, or how your donation will be used.
» Know that not all donations are tax-deductible — donations to specific individuals or families, for example, are not. If someone raising money on behalf of a particular victim or family says your donation is tax-deductible, chances are it’s a scam.
» Charity Navigator is useful for gathering information about existing charities and has a Hurricane Harvey specific section — go to bit.ly/2ggTc2O.
For more information about charity fraud, go to the Charity Fraud Center at bit.ly/2wQW3q6. If someone becomes a victim of charity fraud, her or she should call 1 (800) 222-4444.
About 15 percent of the nation’s oil refining capacity shut down in the wake of flooding caused by hurricane and tropical storm Harvey, but experts say it shouldn’t have much of an effect on the Colorado oil and gas industry other than a slight increase in prices at the pump.
Colorado’s market is removed from the Texas market, and there’s enough oil still available in the U.S. and across the world to keep prices from changing too dramatically, said Bernard Weinstein, associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
“This is a terrible storm. It caused a lot of human suffering and maybe $50 billion to $60 billion worth of property damage, but in the past the energy industry has bounced back quickly,” Weinstein said.
Harvey has dumped an amount of rain so unprecedented the National Weather Service had to update its color charts on its official rainfall maps.
The storm has caused disruptions in the oil and gas industry in and around Texas, Weinstein said. Because most of the refineries and ports are closed in Texas, a lot of production slowed down there. That could cause supply of refined products to become a bit limited, but once the rain moves out of Houston the refineries should start back up again pretty quickly.
“We’ve got this ironic situation where crude oil prices have fallen while gas prices have jumped 10 to 15 cents a gallon,” he said. “I think that’s a reflection of the fact that there’s plenty of oil available both domestically and globally in storage.”
Whatever happens in Texas shouldn’t affect Colorado too much.
“There is a ripple effect, but I’m not sure if that will make its way to Colorado,” Weinstein said. “As far as I know there hasn’t been any damage to refineries and plants in the area. I think I read there was a little flooding. But these guys all have protocols. They shut down in the face of natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes and floods.”
Still, Colorado drivers will see an increase in gas prices at the pump.
Between the effects of Harvey in Texas and the upcoming Labor Day weekend, Colorado residents likely will see gas prices go up about 15 cents per gallon, said Skyler McKinley, AAA Colorado spokesman.
“I will say a rising tide affects all ships, and we’ve seen a significant decrease in supply because refineries are shut down or shutting down,” he said. “(But) we’re lucky, though, in Colorado because we’re not a part of that Texas refinery market. We get a lot of our gas from up north; we don’t get a lot of gas from Texas.”
McKinley said he doesn’t expect Colorado gas prices to go much above $2.50 per gallon.
“It don’t think it’s going to lead to a long-term spike in gas prices,” McKinley said. “We’ve already seen some of the Corpus Christi area coming back online. They were spared from the worst of the storm.”
And some of the refineries in Houston are going to come back online sooner than what some people originally thought, he said.
“There’s going to be an impact and it’s going to be noticeable, but it’s going to be short-lived,” McKinley said.
— The Associated Press contributed to this story.