During Texas Energy Day 2021, Texas Oil & Gas Association President Todd Staples sat down with Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian to talk about the year that was and President Joe Biden’s administration’s efforts to back solar and wind power – especially in the state of Texas.
With San Patricio County home to several wind farms, which provide tax funds, Christian is eyeing the future of Texas energy as coal, oil and gas – especially through the rough year 2020 brought on the energy industries.
“The thing is, I have been really encouraged during all the hard things that the year brought,” Christian said. “The private free market industry can almost always do a better job than government regulations.
“I’ve seen some of the biggest challenges – if not the biggest challenges – hit our industry this past year, and every single time we turn to the free market industry. They overperformed and came to the rescue much better than I think government has ever been designed to do and I think it’s a great Texas brag.”
Staples added, “Well, you know, it’s interesting that some states and countries don’t operate on the model of working together rather than working against one another.
“And I think that’s how problems are solved.”
He said that just last year oil was at $24 a barrel and unsure what the future of COVID-19 would hold. Christian met with TXOGA last year and during the oil crisis who then formed the Blue Ribbon Task Force who met and strategized on how to keep the oil pumping during such a difficult time.
“So what happened of course was the industry saved the United States,” Christian said. “No doubt the oil and gas industry out here has, since the turn of the century, saved and revolutionized and made a safer, cleaner, better world.
“This past year specifically because we first were hit with a fight that OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and Russia got together and decided they were going to stop production and get prices going at the same time here comes China with this virus – we’re not supposed to call it that but I’m sorry Mr. Biden – that caused a pandemic worldwide and decreased demand.”
He continued by saying that the past presidential administration did a great job working for the coal, oil and gas industry. He feels they had support in Washington on the congress and legislation level who were pro oil and gas and pro energy dominance all over the world and sees President Joe Biden’s administration as a formidable foe due to his stopping the Keystone Pipeline and looking towards a greener, more environmentally safe future.
“I mean, (Biden’s administration) has done everything you can think of so far to disrupt us,” Christian said. “It now costs three times the amount for energy for consumers with what they’ve done. It puts more locomotives on the railroad tracks which are three times the cost.
“But Warren Buffett’s company makes a lot of money from it. Then there’s the Paris Accord, which were paying $78 billion for. That’s 10 trillion a year for the United States. As you’re all aware that we now are living under that little darlin, and we’ve got to live under that for a term.”
Christian sites the carbon taxes along with rising fees and permitting is hurting the oil and gas energy more than most people realize.
“We don’t need any new taxes and this carbon tax is going to be one that tries to dissuade the use of oil and gas,” Christian said.
“So, there’s a lot of challenges coming from the administration this next year so we’ve got to come together with some efforts to fight this.
Christian continued by saying that Texas energy companies need help in their recovery while the president is putting money into renewables like wind and solar power.
“When the sun don’t shine or the wind don’t blow, we let the pilot light go out on our dependables,” Christian said. “They’ve spent over 7 billion in just state tax dollars to get power lines out to the windmills when we put them in, and then we’ve been spending about a billion to a billion and a half – that’s with a ‘B’ – on it a year since then, and making sure that you buy, wind energy and solar energy before you buy natural gas energy.
“We’re putting most of our tax dollars into the undependables at the cost and risk to lives.”