Hurricanes are a big deal. Their winds block shipping for upward of a million square miles at a time, their storm surges can drown entire communities, and their rains can flood areas hundreds of miles from the coast. The biggest impact, however, comes to the energy sector. Hurricanes force the shutdown of thousands of oil and natural gas production points in the Gulf of Mexico every year, and that lost supply sends energy prices skyward, causing shortages that can last months.
Or at least they used to.
With the onset of the shale era, nearly all of America’s energy production is now on-shore. In fact, shale gas production has become so cheap that most natural gas production on the Gulf of Mexico no longer is cost effective. And so it is shutting down.
So now when a hurricane rages through the region, it just doesn’t matter very much unless you’re on the beach.
For more on how shale is revolutionizing the American energy complex and international outlook, see Chapters 7 and 8 of The Accidental Superpower.