Speaking at Midland forum, Porter touts Permian gains

At a Thursday forum in Midland, Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter said energy production from the Permian Basin is a key factor in Texas and U.S. energy independence.

“If the United States achieves energy independence, it will be because of the Permian Basin,” he said

The forum, coordinated by Houston-based Consumer Energy Alliance and the Permian Basin Petroleum Association was attended by state and local officials, businessmen and women and oil industry reps. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the importance of the Permian to Texas energy production.

Several attendees of the event expressed appreciation at the Commissioners comments, saying they feel that sometimes the Eagle Ford region gets “more than its share of the attention.” Many, including the Commissioner pointed to the dramatic production increases in the basin, which increased by 800,000 barrels per day from 2011 to 2012.

“That’s 800,000 barrels a day of production that we’re not having to import, and that makes a tremendous difference in the balance of trade and the economic vitality of the country,” the Commissioner said.

Porter also mentioned the growth challenges in the region, focusing specifically on road and traffic issues. Asked what can be don’t to help mitigate the impacts, Porter said that something needed to be done, but that it was beyond the jurisdiction of the Railroad Commission. Consumer Energy Alliance and several industry partners have convened a Trucking Safety Taskforce to help address issues associated with road safety in areas of energy development. The Commissioner noted that such activities are the best way to start tackling the issue.

Porter also spoke about challenges associated with water, the threats posed by anti-development activists and federal regulation. He thinks federal officials need to defer to state agencies like his own when it comes to regulating oil and gas.

“Both industry and the Commission need to insure our regulations are such that no one can have a legitimate argument against production,” he said.