Permian Energy Infrastructure Can Boost Economy Post-COVID

Dallas Morning News today published an op-ed from Guy Caruso, former administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), regarding the important role energy infrastructure can play in post-COVID economic recovery. Caruso writes, “Policymakers should understand the stability, economic investment and promise that energy development and infrastructure projects can bring to our nation in a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

Caruso points out that record domestic energy production, growth of U.S. energy exports, and investment in infrastructure have all contributed to U.S. energy self-sufficiency. Texas, as the top producer of both crude oil and natural gas, plays an especially important role in our nation’s energy future. Caruso specifically highlights the Permian Basin, noting:

The Permian houses more than 7,000 oil fields in West Texas and accounts for nearly 40% of all oil production and 15% of natural gas production in the U.S., according to the Texas Railroad Commission. Given its strategic location in a state on the Gulf Coast, the Permian has been a key driver in the rise of American energy exports. But while energy companies have invested significant resources into growing the crude oil pipeline network in the region, natural gas infrastructure, on the other hand, has lagged behind in recent years.

While natural gas infrastructure has not been sufficient in recent years with record production, developers have recognized the need, and a number of projects have either been announced or are under construction. Caruso notes that, “Infrastructure projects like the Lone Star Express Pipeline expansion, Permian Highway Pipeline and Whistler Pipeline are designed to play a critical role in moving Permian natural gas and natural gas liquids to consumers.”

In conclusion, Caruso emphasizes how investment in energy infrastructure – and fostering the regulatory environment conducive to such development – can be significant as the U.S. recovers from the coronavirus pandemic and its affiliated economic challenges. He concludes:

As the American economy continues to rebound from the pandemic-induced economic downtown, it is important that we have the infrastructure in place to streamline that process and ensure reliable, affordable access to domestically produced energy resources.

The best way to ensure our nation’s energy future and stability is by fostering a regulatory environment that is conducive to large-scale infrastructure investment. Whether that is solar and wind farms, hydropower dams, or oil and gas pipelines, it is paramount that American policymakers and regulators provide regulatory certitude and consistency and a straightforward permitting and approval process that relies on scientific review and fact.