John Koskinen, chairman of the The President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, during a press conference today said a recent government survey shows that oil and gas companies are making progress in their efforts to prepare for the date change, but some companies are still behind in their Y2K compliance efforts and don't expect that work to be complete until sometime in the fourth quarter.
"Businesses and government agencies that are projecting system completion dates late this year have limited flexibility for unexpected delays," Koskinen said in a prepared statement.
Therefore, he urged oil and gas companies to continue their efforts to remediate and test their computer systems, work with companies in their supply chain, and complete contingency plans, so as to prevent slippage in system completion schedules this fall.
The survey conducted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission includes information from companies that account for 93 percent of all the oil and gas consumed in the United States, according to Koskinen.
The assessment, conducted in May and June of this year, also shows that interstate gas pipeline companies, which deliver gas to utilities, power generators and industrial plants throughout the country.
Contributing gas companies said they will complete work on mission-critical systems to accommodate any Year 2000 concerns by the end of September. And pipeline firms claim they will have Y2K contingency plans in place by July 1 and tested by the end of September.
He said he was pleased to see the decrease in the number of companies reporting the lack of Y2K information from the telecom and electric power sectors as a major challenge. "Preparing for the date change requires continued information sharing across industry lines," he said.
The industry survey was the third assessment of Y2K readiness within the oil and gas industry. Another is due by the next quarter.
The Year 2000 problem, also known as the millennium bug, stems from an old programming shortcut that used only the last two digits of the year. Many computers now must be modified, or they may mistake the year 2000 for the year 1900 and may not be able to function at all, observers warn.