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

“You have to realize that Houston and Texas has what we call a comparative advantage. It’s obviously geology oil and gas, and as a matter of fact the oil and gas industry provides roughly 13% of gross state product, which makes it the largest single industry in the state. When things are bad in that sector, it hurts across the board for the state of Texas and Houston. But geology aside, we also have a tremendous amount of capital already deployed refining chemicals, petrochemicals, pipelines and port facilities. All of these things really bode well because the capital’s not being destroyed right now. It’s still in place, so it bodes well when things do begin to turn for Texas to be able to respond very quickly.”

— Ken Medlock, James A. Baker III and Susan G. Baker Fellow in Energy and Resource Economics; senior director, Center for Energy Studies, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, as quoted by Houston Business Journal

The TER Buzz:

TXOGA talks industry opportunities with students

May 27, 2020

Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA) President Todd Staples recently joined Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush at Lamar University in Beaumont to discuss how oil and natural gas in Texas are fueling education.

“The Texas General Land Office has long played a key role in funding education across Texas, with the oil and natural gas industry being a strong partner of this mission,” said Bush. “The dollars that this industry pumps into education in Texas are helping provide the learning opportunities that are vital to our state’s efforts to better prepare the next generation of innovators and leaders.”….

U.S. Oil Industry Faces ‘Very Uncertain’ Future

By Alex Mills


May 27, 2020

Crude oil prices have firmed up from its crash one month ago, but the industry’s reduction in capital expenditures and decline in future drilling will negatively impact its ability to replace current production in the future.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas issued a report this week stating: “We expect at least a 35 percent drop in such investment (U.S. oil and gas producers) between the first and second quarters of 2020 in real (inflation-adjusted) terms, which will reduce nonresidential business fixed investment by 6 percentage points alone.”

A big portion of the capital expenditures (capex) by industry includes drilling and completion costs. The U.S. drilling rig count declined this week to historic low of 339 compared to 985 last year, which is a decline of 688 active drilling rigs (70 percent), according to the Baker Hughes Rig Count. In Texas, the rig count declined 332 from 482 a year ago to 150 currently (69 percent)…..

Reliant Energy Donates $100,000 To Baylor Scott & White For COVID-19 Digital Tracker: Press Release

May 26, 2020

Baylor Scott & White Health announced today a $100,000 donation from Reliant in support of its MyBSWHealth mobile app. Launched in 2018, the MyBSWHealth app has emerged as a leading digital tool in Texas in the fight against COVID-19, providing nearly 175,000 digital screenings and more than 45,000 eVisits related to the virus. This process has allowed tens of thousands of Texans with mild symptoms to be evaluated outside of Baylor Scott & White clinics and emergency departments—further ensuring that hospitals are ready for those who need care most during this time….

Used Electric Vehicle Batteries Could Be Part of Profitable Grid-Scale Solar Projects: MIT

May 24, 2020

In search of an affordable post-market use for used electric vehicle batteries, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found what they say is a model for re-purposing at solar power installations.

At MIT’s Photovoltaics Research Laboratory, the researchers looked at a hypotheitical grid-scale solar farm in California, where they studied the economic feasibility of using an array of batteries from electric vehicles that had declined in productivity to about 80% of original capacity, considered of no use in vehicles because they were too weak.

They also looks at the similar costs for building a 2.5-megawatt solar farm alone — and then the cost of building that same solar farm but with an added new lithium battery storage system…..