The essential strategic question that midstream operators are now coming to grips with after Harvey is whether to invest in hardening their assets, as has worked for processing plants, or to take an operational approach to the next big storm. The latter could include:

  • Designated alternate pipeline routes that would be activated in advance of a storm;
  • New storage facilities to stage inventory at key sites away from expected flood areas; or
  • Pre-arranged plans with shippers and customers to build or reduce volumes out of the ordinary.