Widening, Deepening of Houston Ship Channel a Matter of National Security: Industry Executive

January 3, 2020

Plans for widening the Houston Ship Channel need to hurry along — it’s a matter of national security, one oil executive says.

It’s the busiest port in America, Targa Resources Senior Vice President Vincent DiCosmo said recently at the Gulf Coast Industry Forum near Houston, with expansion needed immediately.

And with the channel’s more than 150 private terminals and $300 billion in capital, hosting more than 18,700 ships each year, it has more incoming ships than the ports of Los Angeles; Long Beach, California; and New York combined.

“It’s about national security, because by 2025 we will have outpaced Saudi Arabia in terms of total crude oil exports. What we will be exporting will be larger than all the production in the Middle East,” DiCosmo said.

“It is, without a doubt, what we need to do. We need a wider and deeper Houston Ship Channel. We can’t wait.”

More than 80% of the traffic along the channel is related to the energy and petrochemical industries, with recent indications that those will increase steadily.

Business and Industry magazine points to a Perryman Group analysis that credits Texas’ oil and gas sector as responsible for 2 million jobs, $120 billion in personal income and produces economic benefits of about $200 billion.

That means 500,000 jobs, $50 billion in personal income and $80 billion in economic benefits — and that’s just direct employment.

The Texas oil and gas sector has also provided 1.4 million jobs in indirect employment, yielding $70 billion in personal income and $120 billion overall.