ODESSA, Texas (KMID) — President Joe Biden took office Wednesday, and immediately took to signing executive orders. One of those orders revokes the permit that former President Donald Trump granted regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline. This pipeline would transport oil-rich tar sands from Alberta, Canada to a station in Southern Nebraska.
However, experts in the Permian Basin are optimistic about this new order, saying that it will help those in West Texas. Kirk Edwards, CEO of Latigo Petroleum says he’s “never understood why the Permian people have been supportive of it because it’s direct competition to us. And, this pipeline being taken away, to me, is a relief for the Permian producers out here.”
Another reason for his optimism with the coming administration is the dramatic decrease in flaring. According to a report from Rystad Energy, flaring in the Permian Basin is at it’s lowest level since 2012. Edwards calls flaring “the black eye” of the oil industry in West Texas.
Recently, companies across Texas have made steps toward drilling with a lower economic footprint. Kinder Morgan opened the Permian Highway Pipeline on Jan. 1. It transports natural gas from the Waha hub to Katy, Texas, near Houston.
According to a statement released to KXAN sister station KMID, Kinder Morgan says it is moving 2.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day with the new pipeline. This pipeline reduces the need for flaring in West Texas and makes it easier for oil and gas producers to make a profit from the natural gas they get in oil wells.
“I think we’re going to have a lot cleaner production system than we’ve ever had in the last 10 years,” Edwards says. “Canada burns about 3 billion cubic feet of gas per day to heat up those tar sands to move that oil. So, that oil’s incredibly dirty that’s getting produced in Canada that comes down to Texas, too. So all in all, environmentally, you can see why the Biden Administration is doing what they’re doing, but economically, it’s going to make a big impact to help the Permian producer ahead.”
While the administration has other plans regarding the oil and gas industry, experts say that Texas is the place to be for oil and gas.
“To me, it’s great to be in Texas,” Edwards says. “I think we’ve got a fantastic state for oil and gas production. I would hate to be in another one of these states with the administration changing because it’s going to be very up in the air on what’s going to happen to them.”
What’s up in the air is, actually, the land. Biden has threatened to put a moratorium on oil and gas leases on federal lands. In Texas, the land that is used for drilling is all private land; however, in New Mexico, that plan could have a much bigger impact.
“Hopefully in Texas, we can continue doing what we’re doing and we’re getting better at it and more environmentally clean every single day that we’re out here,” Edwards says.