Year 2000 Computing Crisis:

Readiness of the Oil and Gas Industries

AIMD-99-162: Published: May 19, 1999. Publicly Released: May 19, 1999.

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Joel C. Willemssen
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO identified the oil and gas power industries' vulnerability to year 2000 problems and the reported status of their year 2000 readiness.

GAO noted that: (1) all phases of operations in the oil and gas industries--from production to distribution--use computer systems and equipment that are subject to year 2000 failures; (2) while the domestic oil and gas industries have reported that they have made substantial progress in making their equipment and systems ready to continue operations into the year 2000, risks remain; (3) in February 1999, following an industrywide survey, the nation's oil and gas industries reported that, on average, they were 40 percent finished validating their embedded systems; (4) however, over a quarter of the oil and gas industries reported that they did not expect to be year 2000 ready until the second half of 1999--leaving little time for resolving unexpected problems; (5) because over half of the nation's oil is imported, the nation is vulnerable to year 2000 failures of oil production and transportation in other countries; (6) however, little is known about the year 2000 readiness of foreign oil supplies; (7) the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion's Oil and Gas Working Group has appointed a subgroup to collect year 2000 readiness information on foreign oil suppliers; however, the group has no plans to issue a country-by-country assessment; and (8) while individual domestic companies reported that they are developing year 2000 contingency plans, there are no plans to perform a national-level risk assessment and develop contingency plans to deal with potential shortages or disruptions in the nation's overall oil and gas supply.

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