Rising to the Challenges of Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast communities from August 25-30, 2017, dumping an estimated 1.2 trillion gallons of water on Harris County, Texas, alone. The Houston region averaged 40 inches of rainfall in less than a week, nearly as much as the annual rainfall average of 49.2 inches. According to the Greater Houston Partnership, the hurricane damaged or destroyed over 97,000 single-family homes in the Houston metropolitan area, and impacted approximately 7 percent of the region’s housing.
Like others in the region, Marathon Oil and our workforce were deeply affected by the record-shattering storm, including some employees who were forced to evacuate or suffered flood damage to their homes. Many Company employees, as well as those throughout the oil and gas industry, responded with time and resources to help those in need. To assist in storm relief and rebuilding efforts, Marathon Oil donated approximately $600,000 to the American Red Cross, the Greater Houston Community Foundation, the United Way, Communities in Schools and other organizations.
To continue critical business functions, Marathon Oil executed our business continuity plan and communicated regularly with employees, including those working remotely during the closure of our Houston office. Our emergency response team put an incident command system in place, communicated with government authorities and kept the business continuity team informed about each phase of the storm’s progression. Company emergency responders received calls, texts and emails from employees requesting help, coordinated aid with government agencies and individuals, and assisted with the evacuation of a number of employees and their families.
Many employees stepped up to help their coworkers and others clean up and begin the long recovery process from Hurricane Harvey. In response to community needs, employees volunteered at shelters, churches and aid organizations attending to storm victims. One Houston employee, impacted by prior flooding, transformed her home into a command center where people could easily access meals and supplies. Eventually, she organized over 50 volunteers to take requests from families in need and help the community in any way possible.
An employee from our Oklahoma City office and his wife made their way to Houston with their boat to assist with water rescues. After learning his boat was too big, the employee bought another boat and rescued about a dozen people. A team of employees from our South Texas Eagle Ford office in Gonzales brought truckloads of supplies and food to small coastal towns like Seadrift. They went door to door helping people who were affected, especially the elderly.
In advance of the storm, Marathon Oil suspended operations in our Eagle Ford asset. Due to our business continuity planning, equipment and infrastructure integrity, and a health, environmental and safety (HES) focus, employees shut down and subsequently restarted approximately 1,500 producing wells and multiple facilities with zero spills, injuries and incidents. Even though some of our employees faced personal impacts from the storm, our Eagle Ford team was able to achieve third quarter production in line with second quarter production levels.
Marathon Oil employees have always been resilient and adaptable, so the actions they took to prepare for and recover from Hurricane Harvey were not a surprise. We are proud of the way they managed our business and contributed to our communities during one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit the Texas Gulf Coast.