Part 3: Trans-Pecos Pipeline Will Bring Tactical Opportunities to Texas
Aug. 9, 2016
By Trevor Hawes
Construction of the Trans-Pecos pipeline, which will transport natural gas from the Waha Hub in Fort Stockton to Mexico through the Big Bend region, has drawn many comments and concerns by residents and non-residents alike.
Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton shared his perspective about the 42-inch pipeline project and the opportunities it will bring to Texas. He also shared what he considers to be the coolest part about being on the Railroad Commission.
This is the third and final part of the Reporter-Telegram’s interview with Sitton. In the first part, the commissioner discussed DUCs, the gasoline glut and why it seems the Railroad Commission is always up for sunset review. In the second part, Sitton gave his insights into who he really thinks OPEC is competing with. Both interviews can be read at mrt.com
MRT: Do you have any comments about the ongoing construction of the Trans-Pecos pipeline?
Sitton: The pipeline is slated to move 1.4 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. When you look at national natural gas production, that pipeline is going to move about 2 percent of all the natural gas produced in the country. It’s really noteworthy that our natural gas production is really growing.
Take, for example, the connectivity in North America. Mexico is very interested in buying natural gas specifically from the state of Texas to power new power generation facilities. We have talked before about what opportunities that presents, but it’s also a practical example of the ability we have to move that gas in the state of Texas across the state to customers outside the state. It’s really good for our state.
I certainly understand why landowners are cautious. Heck, if a pipeline is coming across my property, I’m not excited about it, either. But this is one of those tactical things that really represents the opportunities that we’re talking about to move these products into those markets and not just compete economically, but succeed.
MRT: Do you get a sense that the Trans-Pecos pipeline will encourage the construction of more natural gas infrastructure in the Permian Basin?
Sitton: The short answer is yes, as will all of the natural gas demand. We know that natural gas demand is slowly but surely growing with exports and long-haul vehicles that are converting. All of that demand is going up. When you talk about this 42-inch pipeline, what we need now are the gathering systems to get it from the wellhead to the big pipeline. All of it together is going to drive that infrastructure.
MRT: What’s the coolest part about being a Railroad Commissioner?
Sitton: I would say the coolest part is when I talk to people in this state who don’t really know anything about oil and gas. You would think oil and gas regulation has got to be the most boring job in politics, right? I mean, how interesting could that be? But when you talk to people about how impactful some of these things are to our economy and when you get to explain the nuts and bolts of these things that make a difference in the community in a way and with stories that people can understand, people just light up and say, “Man! I get why this is important!” That’s really cool.
The fact is, that because we’re elected and not appointed, people are interested. If we were just gubernatorial appointees … but since everyone can vote for Railroad Commissioner, they want to have that dialogue. That creates the opportunity for people to get really engaged in a cool topic that people might not otherwise think is very cool.
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