by Paul Gonzales
ith the Port of Corpus Christi setting records in both tonnage and crude shipments, it is earning its nickname as the Energy Port of the Americas.
While oil and gas have been the port’s bread and butter for decades, it is shifting the focus to renewable energies and plans to construct green and blue hydrogen facilities in and around San Patricio County along with carbon capture plants.
With all the growth pouring into the area, the communities’ needs in both San Patricio and Nueces counties has come to the forefront where a plan is coming to fruition with a little help from other industries.
Permian Strategic Partnership CEO Tracee Bentley was the keynote speaker at the 2021 State of Energy luncheon held Aug. 26 in Corpus Christi.
“Alongside our partners, we are continuously looking for ways to improve our industry and the lives of people who live and work in our communities,” Bentley said. “Texas energy producers and entrepreneurs are leading an energy renaissance. America is one of the top producers in the world with the resources, the risk taking, ingenuity, innovation – it all started right here in the Lone Star State.
“For the TSP, our intent was to identify areas in which we can make real and lasting impacts that will benefit our communities. Population in the Permian Basin has grown at an incredible rate, with many other community services struggling to keep up.”
With industry in the area recognizing this critical need, 17 leading energy companies came together to form the Permian Strategic Partnership (PSP), an entity of the industry competitors who share a common goal.
Bentley added, “Together, we asked, ‘How can we attract new workers and convince them to stay in the Permian? How can we make an effort into these destinations for families?’”
Those sentiments have also been the subject of conversation for the past couple of years in San Pat County as well. Due to the large influx of industry –with more on the horizon – local officials have struggled to accommodate not only the coming workforce, but the residents already living in the county.
“Collaboration is key,” Bentley said. “We are not just leaders in the oil and gas industry, we are leaders in implementing innovative ideas to solve problems.
“PSP leverages its relationships with like minded organizations, local and national leaders and public leaders to achieve more together than we ever would alone.
“Working together, we have to increase money for education investment, in career training, expanded health care access, improve both safety and infrastructure and make housing more affordable for teachers.”
She said that with oil and gas totaling $14 billion in state and local taxes last year, the time is right to come together and move forward.
“The truth is that oil and gas has been here for a long, long time,” Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales said. “I think that what we are faced with is, it could be said, everything is different, but in many ways, nothing has changed.
“We are now wrestling with education, housing, transportation, roads, infrastructure and workforce.”
Bentley said that PSP was excited about the thought of other regions using their model to create partnerships and encourages them to deviate from the model to include local initiatives like conservation and address the unique needs of the residents in this area by bringing private partners together to work on a common goal.
“We should be excited that Texas producers are helping to drive economic and environmental progress,” she added. “Our companies would love to see our peers take on this challenge with the key being it should encourage lasting change.”
With various industries in San Patricio County, it could be said that some have already encouraged change within the community, but Bentley thinks that creating official partnerships would help the region as a whole. With San Pat so spread out on the map, it seems that partnering with industry in and around the county to better the entire population wouldn’t be a bad idea.
“Let’s give industry a seat at the table like they have at the PSP,” Canales continued. “I don’t think government should dictate how we’re going to solve this alone.”