MIDLAND, Texas — The cyber-attack really revealed a hole in the vulnerabilities of our energy grid. Colonial Pipeline struck by ransomware and forced to temporarily shut down supply of gasoline to the east coast.
While the cyber-attack is happening on the other side of the country and technically doesn't impact west Texas, it's a lesson learned for oil companies here at home.
"Every company is on high alert right now because of this. So they are strengthening their systems, they are strengthening the protocols of what they’ll do if they are attacked, but they’re also helping educate their employees on how not to let this type of cyber-attack into the company," Mickey Cargile, president of Cargile Investment Management said.
Cargile also doesn't believe that any particular company here in west Texas is at risk, but it's still concerning.
"We are always concerned about the energy grid itself, and we saw what a disruption of that for eight days can do and the havoc it brings, but still we recovered from that and move on. So while it may be a temporary inconvenience, it’s not something that is a disastrous scenario," Cargile said.
However, there is still the possibility that it could happen out here. What then? Cargile said that besides it being an inconvenience, it could temporarily drive up gas prices if pipelines are shut down for an extended period of time.
"If anything, when there’s a shortage initially that’s going to bump the price up some. It builds in that premium no different than many years ago when anytime there was an attack in the Middle East that it would bump up prices because of that premium that uncertainty brings into the market. Now, whether it lasts or not usually it does not. It’s usually short term," Cargile said.