Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Inundation: A Case Study of the Gulf Coast Energy Infrastructure

David E. Dismukes, Siddhartha Narra
2018 Natural Resources  
The United States (U.S.) Gulf Coast is a prominent global energy hub with a set of highly integrated critical energy infrastructure that rivals, if not surpasses, any comparable set of infrastructure anywhere in the world. Past extreme weather events in the region have led to critical energy infrastructure disruptions with national and global implications. Future sea-level rise (SLR), coupled with other natural hazards, will lead to a significant increase in energy infrastructure damage
more » ... . This research assesses coastal energy infrastructure that is at risk from various fixed SLR outcomes and scenarios. The results indicate that natural gas processing plants that treat and process natural gas before moving it into the interstate natural gas transmission system may be particularly vulnerable to inundation than other forms of critical energy infrastructure. Under certain SLR assumptions, as much as six Bcfd (eight percent of all U.S. natural gas processing capacity) could be inundated. More extreme SLR exposure assumptions result in greater levels of energy infrastructure capacity exposure including as much as 39 percent of all U.S. refining capacity based on current operating levels. This research and its results show that while fossil fuel industries are often referenced as part of the climate change problem, these industries will likely be more than proportionally exposed to the negative impacts of various climate change outcomes relative to other industrial sectors of the U.S. economy. This has important implications for the U.S. and global energy supplies and costs, as well as for the U.S. regional economies reliant on coastal energy infrastructure and its supporting industries.
doi:10.4236/nr.2018.94010 fatcat:nz7jabhelbc5bdog5p3bgnf63m