During the Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA) annual Texas Energy Day 2021, several Texas leaders sat down with TXOGA President Todd Staples to explore the present and future impacts and benefits the oil and gas industry has on the state as well as the nation.
Staples met with Governor Greg Abbott in his office at the state capito talk about how the oil and gas industry is changing and what that means for oilfield workers and the residents of Texas in the months and years ahead.
“We know that there are now additional challenges coming from Washington DC, but know that Texas will be your partner in fighting against those challenges, to make sure that you are able to continue to play the prolific role that you have played,” Gov. Abbott said.
“It’s so important not just for the jobs and the economic impact that you provide, but it’s equally important for world and global dynamics, that Texas and the United States continue to lead the production so that we as a state and as a nation, remain energy independent.”
Abbott talked about his recent trip to East Texas where he spoke to residents from Midland or Odessa about President Joe Biden shutting down the XL Pipeline and the jobs that were lost or may be lost if Texas isn’t able to explore and produce oil the way it has for decades.
“I understand that in the past few months the world has changed with regard to the energy sector in Texas, as well as across the United States, because of the new administration seeking to impose these Green New Deal policies,” Abbott said. “Green New Deal policies that threaten fossil fuel production in the state of Texas that we are accustomed to.
“Something else that we are accustomed to, is fighting back and protecting the fossil fuel industry in Texas.”
The governor stated that he filed 31 lawsuits under President Barrack Obama’s administration against regulations in order to keep Texas on top as an oil and gas producer. He added that he wants anyone state agency that receives any type of new regulation that looks like Washington, DC may be attempting to impose regulations to contact his office so he can take legal action to shut it down.
“I just want you all to know that through those tools – as well as others – we’re going to be fighting every step of the way to make sure that you do have the ongoing ability to explore, to produce and to pipe fossil fuels here in the state of Texas because it’s so important, not just for you and your businesses, but it’s so important for the future of the United States.”
Staples said that he was talking a lot about oil companies, but they are not really only gas companies, they are innovation and technology companies because they’re making and developing solutions to produce cleaner fuels and since 1990, carbon dioxide emissions have dropped 23 percent.
“It is the equivalent of having removed 88 million vehicles from the roads in Texas,” Abbott said. “If you were doing the math, that would pretty much mean every vehicle has been removed.
“This shows something that the public doesn’t want to talk about – certainly the press doesn’t like to talk about it – and that is really how much Texas has improved with regard to this environment, with regard to emissions and things like that.”
Staples said, “We hear the term energy transition a lot these days, and what you just described, makes me understand and know that transition means that the private sector is going to be transitioning to a lower emission future, lower carbon future, while still providing the resources that are important to power our lives.”
Abbott pointed out that because of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) being used more across the globe is the reason the environment has become cleaner. He visited India and Japan to talk to their leaders because they rely on LNG so much and he wants to maintain that relationship as best as possible.
San Patricio County has one of the largest LNG suppliers with Cheniere, and more facilities are being built in Texas to meet the growing demand.
But there is current legislation that is trying to stop residents in certain cities in Texas from using LNG to power and heat their homes, which Abbott has an issue with.
“So I have an official name for this proposed bill and it is called the ‘Sanity Act’,” he said. “We need sanity. It is what some of these other states are doing. Certain locations in California, like San Francisco, where they are banning hookups for natural gas going into homes.
“Texas is not going to go down that pathway. But something that we all need to collectively come to grips with is the reality that in the state of Texas, there are a lot of different philosophical opinions. There’s one thought process that you see most people to the Permian Basin have. But I think you all know, there’s a different mental process that some people in the city of Austin have.
“For example, in the past we saw the city of Denton pass a ban on fracking. So you all need to understand there are cities in the state of Texas that do pose threats .
“We’re going stop that dead in its tracks by passing a bill to make sure that every customer in the state of Texas is going to have their own choice to choose natural gas or one of their supplies of energy, because it’s a cheap, clean use of energy.”
With the mass exodus of multi-billion dollar companies like Tesla coming to Texas from places like California, Staples asked if Texas’ infrastructure was ready for such an influx of business.
I feel very confident about it,” Gov. Abbott said. “The first one reason why we do have so many resources available for us to invest in roads is because of the oil and gas severance tax.
“Bruce Bugg is chairman of the Texas Department of Transportation Commission and has probably spent more time in the Permian Basin region than anybody else ever has – and probably more time there than any other region in the state of Texas. He’s very familiar with the needs in the energy sector, from the Permian Basin all the way to the ports and I feel very confident that we will be able to continue to build out roads as well as pipeline transportation.
Abbott said that freeze we went through in February posed challenges for residents lives, for safety and also for the oil and gas sector.
“Know this,” Abbott said, “this session is not going to end until we fully address all of the challenges posed by the winter storm and we ensure when we leave the session, we will never again have any type of challenge like that again, because we will have adequate laws taking place – whether it be with ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) or anybody else.
“Whether it’s in the winter or the summer, or any other time, we expect for the power to stay on and we will leave this session with that result.”