The South Texas Energy and Economic Roundtable (STEER) brought key officials, local government officials and industry leaders together for a luncheon and panel discussion, A 10-Year Tribute, on May 26, at ConocoPhillips in Kenedy.

STEER hosted approximately 45 members and guests who heard industry updates, received statistics and engaged in a discussion and sound appraisal of the growth potential for the oil and gas industries in South Texas during the luncheon.

ConocoPhillips Community Relation Advisor Glynis Holm Strause, one of the founding committee members for STEER, opened the day’s events, calling for a moment of silence followed by a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. The assembly bowed heads in awareness of the tragic loss of 19 children and two teachers Tuesday, May 24, at the hands of an 18-year-old gunman at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

Strause said in the tradition of ConocoPhillips – that never starts a meeting without a safety moment – she had a few tips for those in the audience,a poignant offering in light of the Texas tragedy.

She then introduced Texas Oil and Gas Association President Todd Staples who rose to offer opening remarks. His organization represents over 80% of the crude oil production in Texas and over 80% of the refining capacity in the state.

Staples began by acknowledging the importance of what those present at the luncheon do for the industry, for their communities and for Texas. He took the opportunity to raise the bar higher to include a broader international assessment made more telling by the war in Ukraine and the world’s use of fossil fuels among all energy sources.

“And now we know what we’ve known all along, people across the world are understanding, what it means to the world,” Staples said. He noted that government officials are more aware that the world functions within a cycle where energy is always in a transitory phase.

“We don’t need to be afraid of it, “ Staples said.

He added that it was actually more an “energy addition” where depending on world needs and change, different forms of energy, some newer than others, are required to be tapped “in some form or fashion.”

“The others don’t go away,” Staples said. He added, though, that those attending were keenly aware of the competitive environment that is global in 2022.

He said “by the year 2050, our energy supply has got to increase by 50% ... 50% greater than the amount of energy that we’re using today.” Staples said the world will need a “robust oil and gas industry” to meet that forecasted demand. That robustness can be on the shoulders of strong leadership, adaptation, innovation and technology “cornerstones” designed to address even environmental issues that people are concerned about today, among which are methane and flaring, he said.

Staples also announced that the organization will hold its annual awards event at La Cantera Resort in San Antonio on Oct. 13, 2022.

Staples then brought to the podium Omar Garcia, Port of Corpus Christi chief external affairs officer and former founding chief executive officer of STEER from October 2012 to 2018, who outlined how the Port of Corpus Christi impacts the economy and well-being of the region and ultimately the nation.

“We’re in the news a lot,” Garcia said.

Garcia utilized several slides to summarize the impact of the port which is entering its centennial year and the elaborate plans for its expansion in the coming years.

“Keeping Texas oil out of Texas water” while at the same time, continuing to deepen the port through strategic dredging projects is imperative and ongoing, he said. The port is No. 1 for revenue tonnage in the U.S., he added. “This used to be a sleepy little port.”

“On any given day, we export anywhere from 1.6 to 2.1 million barrels of crude,” he said. With respect to employment, Garcia said that directly and indirectly the port is responsible for the creation and continuation of 98,000 jobs.

After his presentation, Garcia joined Adrian Lopez, chief executive officer of Workforce Solutions Alamo, and Al Arreola, president and chief executive officer of South Texas Business Partnership, for a panel discussion moderated by Silver Vasquez, interim executive director of STEER and principal at Quatro Strategic Solutions. Drawing on a series of questions, panelists addressed a wide range of topics directly related to the future of oil and gas in Texas.

One of the first questions addressed by the panel was how Eagle Ford has changed over the years.

Silver said, “We’ve come such a long way over the last 10 years.”

The panel discussed skills and job creation, improved educational opportunities for youth, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the area, and the region’s capacity to handle growth in the future.

Also attending the event were Port of Corpus Christi CEO Sean Strawbridge and Beeville’s new mayor, Brian Watson.

Staples reminded the audience that the oil and natural gas industries are “indispensable” to our daily lives.

“Growing communities is tough work,” Staples said, thanking those in attendance for their contribution to that effort.

According to information presented on its website, STEER is the “leading Eagle Ford Shale resource in the region.” The organization provides primary coordination for communication and “public advocacy surrounding the oil and natural gas industry in South Texas.”

Sponsors of the event included ConocoPhillips, Valero, Chevron, PortCorpus Christi, Devon Energy, Pioneer Natural Resources, Energy Transfer, Workforce Energy Solutions/National University System, and Ovintiv.

•baudet@mysoutex.com•

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