The event, sponsored by the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce, allowed Porter to offer an overview of this recent oil and gas boom.
Porter called Eagle Ford, “one of the largest domestic crude oil and natural gas discoveries in more than 40 years.”
He emphasized that, because of the Eagle Ford and oil and gas production in general, Texas has been able to stay in a better financial and economic state than the rest of the country.
He said the Eagle Ford alone is supporting 13,000 jobs and drilling permits were up to 1,200 by June 2011. That is more permits than were issued in all of 2010.
The changes in technology and the introduction of hydraulic fracking have allowed oil and gas production to increase by leaps and bounds.
“Now we are talking about reserves,” Porter said. “We are no longer worried about running out in the next decade.”
While he doesn’t see growth slowing in the Eagle Ford for some time, he still voiced his concerns
“The biggest threat to the Eagle Ford is the federal government,” he said.
Porter feels that the federal government could try and over-govern the oil and gas industry and it could severely damage its economic potential. The federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Fish and Wildlife Service are looking at actions that could hurt the industry. For example, if the EPA were to ban hydraulic fracking, drilling “could shut down.”
The Fish and Wildlife Services are looking at potentially adding endangered animals to the list, which would also shut down drilling in areas where those animals live.
“We need to continue to regulate energy for Texas by Texans and in Texas,” Porter said.
He told the crowd he will do everything in his power to make sure this happens. One of the things he has done is create an Eagle Ford Task Force that will “help advise me on policies moving forward” and will help each other avoid potential problems.
The task force is made up of 24 people from oil companies, water board districts, educators, county judges and more that are working as a team to address problems that counties located within the Eagle Ford could potentially face.
One of the issues the board will be tackling before the end of the year is water.
“We must make sure Texas remains in control of regulating their own resources,” Porter said. “Opening our lines of communication is going to keep us from fighting our battles in the media.”
The Eagle Ford not only has the ability to produce jobs for the state but also “promote economic benefits locally and statewide... There is a lot of opportunity and a lot of challenges to get things done,” Porter said.
At the end of his speech Porter took questions from the audience.