For example, carrying out existing crime-scene restrictions at the site of a gas-pipeline catastrophe could unduly delay emergency repairs. Another example is the large number (80+) of individual gasoline blends required to satisfy various local environmental regulations across the country. Requiring industry to replace all those blends lost in a terrorist attack on refineries or pipelines would seriously hinder recovery. Government and industry should identify and approve temporary measures—and put them in place prior to a catastrophic disruption in the supply—to permit emergency actions for a stipulated time that would facilitate energy-supply recovery (see Recommendation 6.6).
The science and engineering of security technologies have been extensively explored and applied by this country’s national security and defense communities. The oil and gas industries must now consider applying technologies as well. For example, pipeline systems nodes, junction points, compressor stations, and control centers could be hardened by applying known technology not normally employed by oil and gas operators before September 11. Moreover, as industries continue to assess their own particular vulnerabilities, whatever gaps exist and whatever additional R&D may be needed should become clearer. For example, R&D could reduce the cost of protecting key equipment (see Recommendation 6.4).
Some refineries could release highly toxic chemicals in a gaseous cloud if a reactor were ruptured. Technology has been developed and is commercially available to mitigate this risk. In view of the higher threat level, the oil industry needs to reassess vulnerabilities in refineries where the new technology has not yet been applied.
Recommendation 6.18: In view of the increased threat level, oil refineries using process technology that could release toxic gases should be encouraged to install available technology to mitigate that risk.
There is a variety of areas where new science and technology can help reduce or eliminate the impact of a terrorist attack on oil and gas systems.