The Contrarian

“In the investment markets, what everyone knows is usually not worth knowing.”

Danger: Oil Tank Farms

Cushing Oklahoma has the largest storage facility of oil in the US. It’s a small town of about 10,000. But it presents a great danger to oil interruption in the country. Obviously, it’s a great target for terrorist. But a greater danger may come from earthquakes. Here is a brief excerpt for a Bloomberg.com story:

After the shale boom added millions of additional barrels to Cushing, its tanks swelled to a peak hoard of more than 60 million barrels this spring. That’s about as much petroleum as the U.S. uses in three days, and it’s more than six times the quantity that triggered security concerns after Sept. 11.

Now the massive oil stockpile faces an emerging threat: earthquakes. A flurry of quakes have hit within a few miles of Cushing, rattling the town and its massive tanks. According to the Oklahoma Geological Survey, more than a dozen quakes have registered 3.0 or higher on the Richter scale within a few miles of Cushing since mid-September. The biggest, registering at 4.5, hit about three miles away on Oct. 10.

The theory is that the huge growth of fracking in many of the oil regions is producing the quakes. Fracking involves the break up of rocks under the surface with high pressure water. That disturbs the earth.