Dallas Morning News recently published an op-ed by Bill Godsey, former geologist for the Texas Railroad Commission, highlighting the success of Texas’ Permian Basin and its important role in fueling the US’ thriving energy industry. He points out that the Permian’s record production is showing no sign of slowing down anytime soon, either, as he writes:
Drillers have forecast their production in the Permian Basin will double in the next four years, a remarkable achievement that underscores the efficiency of modern extraction capabilities. Citigroup energy analyst Eric Lee has forecast Permian Basin production by 2020 at 5 million barrels of oil per day, climbing to 8 million per day by 2023. That’s more oil than the entire United States produced just six years ago.
This growth is no coincidence; it’s the result of prudent policies and farsighted infrastructure investment. Recognizing the Permian’s potential, developers and regulators have worked together to help deploy new pipelines. Francisco Blanch, head of commodities and derivatives at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, has said he expects pipeline transportation capacity in the region to triple from 3 million barrels per day last year to 9 million per day by 2021.
Pipeline developers have been working to keep up with high production coming out of the Permian. Thankfully – a number of projects are expected to come into service over the next couple years, further alleviating the bottleneck in the region. Godsey notes that this success is a major development, writing:
That is an important accomplishment to help sustain the United States’ march toward energy security. Last year, the U.S. surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas. This year the U.S. Department of Energy predicted that our country will become a net energy exporter in 2020 for the first time in nearly seven decades. These historic milestones are due not only to our vast energy resources, the technology to utilize them and smart policies to bring them online, but also to farsighted infrastructure investment, which is a public-private achievement.
Godsey concludes pipelines are the safest, most efficient method of transporting oil and gas products. He also contends that US policymakers should recognize the success and benefits of the Permian when considering energy infrastructure projects across the country. Godsey writes:
Pipelines are not only the most efficient, and therefore market viable, option to move energy products, they are also the safest. Compared to alternative overland options, like rail and truck, pipelines have the highest success rate of any energy transportation channel. Balanced regulation, which prioritizes safety and practicality, helps create an environment conducive to pipeline deployment and making these systems even safer. It’s important policymakers stay the course and not kowtow to anti-fossil fuel special interests, many of whom wish to keep oil and gas in the ground.
The Permian Basin offers a textbook example of the possibility when prudent regulation meets farsighted investment. Pipeline capabilities in the region have already begun to stimulate further infrastructure development, helping unclog impasses that once stifled growth.
There is a lesson for policymakers in the Permian Basin’s success: Put aside ideological rhetoric. Invite all sides to the table to engage in constructive dialogue. And prioritize our country’s midstream infrastructure. Doing so will help establish our communities and our country on firm footing toward energy security.