Celebrating 10 years covering energy and politics in The Lone Star State. 

“We can’t be a leader in climate change and protecting the environment if we’re one of the biggest oil and gas producers in the country.”

— Environmentalist and senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity Hollin Kretzmann on California’s two competing visions of itself, as quoted in the Los Angeles Times. California’s governor last month okayed a $1.5 million study of ways to reduce petroleum supply and demand in the state.

The TER Buzz:

“Small Land Parcels” Sales Up In Houston Area, Down In Central Texas Y/Y: Report

In parcel sales of 200 acres or less, the Houston area is tops, while sales decreases are seen in Central and North Texas, Realtors’ report says

July 18, 2019

Austin and Dallas have had the hottest housing markets over the past couple of years, but when it comes to the sale of relatively small parcels of land, you can’t beat Houston in the Lone Star State….

Vistra, Flour, Pioneer, HollyFrontier CEOs Join ExxonMobil’s Woods Among North Texas’ Highest Paid: Report

July 18, 2019

The Dallas Morning News is out with a new list of the highest-paid CEOs in North Texas and among the top 20 companies are the usual suspects — AT&T, Texas Instruments and J. C. Penney Co. — but also energy-related companies like Fluor and Vistra.

Air Liquide’s $140 Million Expansion In Matagorda County

July 18, 2019

Matagorda County along the Texas coast is known for the South Texas Project, a legendary nuclear energy plant, but the county’s largest city is getting a new injection of power and money.

Air Liquide has agreed to invest a total of nearly $140 million in its Bay City facility — $107 million going as a direct investment in Matagorda County — to build a new world-scale air separations unit as part of a long-term agreement with Gulf Coast Growth Ventures (GCGV), an equal partnership between ExxonMobil and SABIC.

The agreement is to supply oxygen and nitrogen from its industrial gas pipeline network to GCGV’s planned ethane cracker facility located near Corpus Christi….

Natural gas usage increases: Alex Mills

July 18, 2019

By Alex Mills

The future of the natural gas industry looks bright as supply and demand are expected to increase, and prices are predicted to be stable.

Demand increases will come from the electric power sector and exports, according to the Energy Information Administration at the Department of Energy.

EIA forecasts natural gas consumption by the electric power sector to increase by 1.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), or 3.8 percent, from 2018 “as a result of favorable natural gas prices and coal-to-gas swithching.”

Even though the electric power sector is the largest consumer of natural gas, residential and commercial uses are important parts of the total consumption picture. Residential use is forecast to be flat for the remainder of the year, but use by the industrial sector will grow 2.5 percent in 2019, EIA predicts. “Low natural gas prices in recent years have made it economical to use natural gas as feedstock in fertilizer, methanol, ethylene, propylene, and polyethylene facilities,” EIA notes.

EIA estimates that total U.S. natural gas consumption averaged 82.1 Bcf/d in 2018, and EIA expects it to increase by 2.5 Bcf/d (3.1%) in 2019 and then remain almost flat in 2020.

EIA expects large production gains experienced recently to slow somewhat. During the first half of 2019, EIA estimates that dry natural gas production averaged 89.9 Bcf/d, a 12.2% increase from levels in the first half of 2018. In the second half of 2019, EIA expects dry natural gas production to average 92.7 Bcf/d, a 7.1% increase from the second half of 2018….

“Set the Record Straight” On Lege’s Lack of Success In Eminent Domain Reform: Coalition For Critical Infrastructure

July 15, 2019

The failure of eminent domain reform in Texas was a major disappointment of the 86th Legislature to some organizations and to those who sponsored the legislation to bring it about, especially District 18 state Senator Lois Kolkhorst.

Some details of the negotiations among the groups trying to pass her SB 421 and the companion House bill 991 were detailed elsewhere in The Texas Energy Report, but one of those organizations, the Coalition for Critical Infrastructure, has released an open letter to members of the legislature that reiterates its positions on several of the negotiating points.

Here is the letter in full:


July 10, 2019

To: Members, Texas Legislature

Subject: Eminent Domain SB 421/HB 991

In response to several misleading and inaccurate media reports and communications regarding the failure of eminent domain legislation this session, we feel compelled to set the record straight:

1. First and foremost, CCI wanted to pass meaningful eminent domain legislation during the 86th Legislative Session and the failure of SB 421 was a great disappointment to our coalition.

2. We negotiated in good faith throughout the entire process.

In fact, throughout the interim following the 2017 legislative session, we offered to negotiate with landowner groups with the intention of reaching an agreement prior to the 2019 session convening.

This offer was declined. We were not privy to the filed versions of SB 421/HB 991 until they became public on January 23, 2019.

3. We never reached agreement as to all aspects of the bill. Any claim to the contrary is simply untrue.

4. The version that passed the Senate was NOT an “agreed to” bill. Although CCI agreed to changes that enhanced transparency and accountability, we never agreed to the provisions that exposed entities, taxpayers, and consumers to increased litigation costs and project delays.

5. Once SB 421 reached the House, we worked with Chairman Craddick and other members to draft compromise language on the parts of the bill that were not resolved in the Senate.

We did not reject negotiated language; but never reached an agreement on several key components.

6. Additionally, we were assured that we would have an opportunity to vet final language with those directly responsible for compliance.

That opportunity never came.

7. The only “agreement” was to move forward with the House version to get the bill into a conference committee.

8. CCI was not privy to any counter proposal or conference committee report by Senator Kolkhorst prior to the conference committee report deadline.

Thus, it would have been impossible for us to reject such a proposal, as claimed by some landowner groups.

For the 18 months prior to the 86th Legislative Session, beginning with the House Land & Resources Management Committee interim hearings, until Sunday, May 26th, 2019, the last day to adopt conference committee reports, we worked in good faith to pass meaningful eminent domain reform.

CCI again stands ready and willing to work on a compromise legislation during the upcoming interim.

Circulating false, misleading, and inflammatory statements aimed at members of the Legislature and the entities that
provide much-needed critical infrastructure does not provide a basis for meaningful reform.

As always, we appreciate your interest in crafting a well-reasoned and balanced approach to infrastructure development that both protects private property rights and keeps the Texas economy on the move.

We look forward to working with you again next session on this important issue.

Please call on us if we can provide further information.

CCI representatives can be reached at 512-320-0474.


The Drilling Report July 4-10, 2019: RRC

July 15, 2019

Permit applications approved by the Texas Railroad Commission for July 4 through July 10 for Districts 7C, 8 and 8A. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of permits approved for that leasehold.

  • APC Water Holdings 1, LLC, APC 55-1-41, Loving, new drill (3).
  • APR Operating, LLC, Cosmo Daltex Unit 45-4, Culberson, new drill.
  • Basa Resources, Inc., Foster, Mary, Mitchell, recompletion.
  • BHP Billiton Petroleum (TX Gath.), LLC, Waterfall 56-T2-17 SWD, Reeves, new drill.
  • Birch Operations, Inc., Mike The Tiger 18-7 A, Howard, new drill (3); Mike The Tiger 18-7 B, Howard, new drill; Mike The Tiger 18-7 C, Howard, new drill (2); Mike The Tiger 18-7 D, Howard, new drill; Captain Cane 18-30 E, Howard, new drill.