MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative Rapid Response Group
COVID-19 shutdowns in the first few months of 2020 caused a severe drop in fuel demand and prices. In order to alleviate the economic burdens placed on the oil and gas industry, the Railroad Commission of Texas passed a temporary exemption in May 2020 that expands the potential options for storing oil underground. The following report explores conventional underground oil storage in salt caverns as well as alternative options and potential risks to human and environmental health. We also provide a summary of the permitting process for storage sites, highlighting periods for public involvement.