The inaugural meeting of the West Texas Energy Consortium (WTEC) was held at the Dorothy Garrett Coliseum on the campus of Howard College in Big Spring. The conference was opened by WTxEC Chairman Victor G. Carrillo, former Taylor County Judge and Commissioner of the Railroad Commission of Texas.
The morning keynote speaker was Dr. Thomas Tunstall, Research Director at the Institute for Economic Development at the University of Texas San Antonio. Dr. Tunstall presented Phase 1 of the Economic Impact study done on the six counties in close proximity to the Cline Shale (Brown, Coke, Coleman, Runnels, Taylor and Tom Green). Phase 2 Economic Impact study will be released in 2014 addressing the impact to those counties within the Cline Shale (Scurry, Fisher, Nolan, Mitchell, Howard, Martin, Glasscock, Sterling, Irion and Reagan).
Luke Legate, Director of the Joint Oil & Gas Association, spoke on the global effects of the oil and gas industry along with discussions concerning the “Texas Rainy Day Fund” that is funded by the Texas oil and gas severance tax.
The last speaker of the morning was Dr. Bernard Weinstein, Associate Director of the SMU’s Maguire Energy Institute. Dr. Weinstein spoke on the “Social, Economic and Environmental Impacts of Rapid Energy Development on Local Communities.” He mentioned that the U.S. is the number one producer of energy in the world. Dr. Weinstein stated, “The U.S. is number one in natural gas, number one in wind, number one in coal, number one in nuclear and is currently number two in oil production.”
He went on to state that the U.S. will become the number one producer of oil very soon. Dr. Weinstein also compared the different oil formations by showing that the Bakken is 25’ to 125’ thick, the Eagle Ford is 50’ to 350’ thick, and the Permian Basin is 1500’ to 2000’ thick. He went on to say that West Texas and the Permian Basin is the largest oil find in the U.S. and will continue to lead the way in Texas for decades to come.
The day continued with the luncheon speaker, Santos Gonzales, talking about the Railroad Commission of Texas and their governance of the oil and gas industry. The conference concluded with committee break-out session. The WTxEC has “5” standing committees that include education and workforce, industry and business, community and economic development, infrastructure and natural resources and health and public safety.
The next meeting of the WTxEC is tentatively scheduled for April of 2014 with a location to be determined. Additional information on the WTxEC can be found at www.westtexasenergyconsortium.com .