031822-Christian Russia-Ukraine Op-Ed - The Railroad Commission of Texas .

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March 18, 2022

By Wayne Christian

Like everyone, I’m heartbroken about everything happening in our world right now. As a parent and grandparent, I’m worried about the nation we are leaving for the next generation.

In recent years, it has become painfully clear that climate catastrophism has an oversized influence on public policy. An intense focus on reaching the unattainable goal of carbon-zero has repeatedly caused poor policy decisions that increase costs to consumers and make us more reliant on unreliable forms of energy. Ironically, these policies do not reduce emissions, they just ship them overseas and make us more reliant on hostile foreign nations, like Russia and China.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Energy security is national security, plain and simple. I know it sounds played-out but it’s a fact.

Nowhere is this demonstrated more clearly than in Europe, which had relied on Russia for almost half of its natural gas supply[1] and Chinese renewables for roughly another fifth of their energy[2]. The European Union (EU) has painted themselves into an energy-dependent corner and jeopardized their national security as a result.

Since taking office, President Biden made every poor decision he could make to cripple our geopolitical standing in the world. From handing Afghanistan to the Taliban to destroying our American energy dominance, it’s clear this administration cares more about appeasing radical leftwing activists than doing what is right for the American people.

There are better alternatives, and buying American is the solution. In 2019, the U.S. became a net exporter of energy for the first time in 67 years[3], surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the largest producer of oil and gas in the world[4]. This gave us affordable energy, thousands of new jobs, economic growth, and national security. Our country achieved this by simply empowering, instead of attacking, domestic oil and gas producers.

The EU should be buying Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) from friendly countries like America, Australia, and other western democracies to meet their firm generation needs. It’s dependable, affordable, and cleaner than coal. European gas presently trades around $26 per metric million British thermal units, while the price of U.S. LNG is a little over $9 but has been as low as $4[5]. Given the right production incentives, it can be that low again. Texas represents a quarter of the U.S.’s natural gas production and can certainly produce more to meet that potential demand.

Texas is the nation’s largest producer of oil and gas, and if it were a country, it would be the third largest producer in the world[6]. Prior to COVID-19 and OPEC disputes, Texas was producing a historic 1.85 billion barrels a year, with a 60% increase from 2016-2020[7]. Today, Texas has been producing much less at roughly 4.7 million daily barrels, or a lesser difference of about 320,000 barrels a day[8].

Currently, American oil and gas producers are seeing all red lights. From growing ESG investments to federal leasing bans to canceled pipelines and increased regulations, there has been little incentive the past two years for investors, producers, refiners and more.

We need to be realistic and practical. The price of crude oil has skyrocketed, inflation is rampant, and Europe is mired in its first ground war since World War II. It’s time to switch the lights from red to green. We should be divesting from hostile countries and harnessing American oil and gas right here in the Permian Basin.

This wouldn’t be the first time Texas energy played an impactful role on the world stage. In World War I, Eastland County, Texas and the “Roaring Ranger” production were essential to the Allied victory[9]. In World War II, six of the seven billion barrels of oil used to win the war came from the U.S.,[10] with two East Texas pipelines largely responsible for transporting most of it from the largest oil field in history at the time. Winston Churchill at the end of the conflict said that the war was won on a sea of East Texas oil[11].

As Chairman of the Railroad Commission of Texas, I led an effort, joined by my colleagues, calling for all oil and gas producers to divest from Russia. I’m glad to see some large producers heeded that call as well as mildly encouraged that President Biden came to his sense on Russian oil. However, there is much more that needs to be done to end Putin’s unlawful war, decrease energy costs and strengthen our national security. As Biden shuts the spigot off on Russian oil and gas, he needs to turn the American one on full blast.

The Lone Star State is ready to meet U.S. energy needs and help our European allies meet theirs. Mr. President, please just give Texas the green light.

A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters and five grandchildren. You can learn more about Chairman Christian here: https://rrc.texas.gov/About-Us/Commissioners/Wayne-Christian/.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/25/business/economy/russia-europe-sanctions-gas-oil.html#:~:text=Europe%20gets%20nearly%2040%20percent,walloped%20with%20higher%20heating%20bills

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Renewable_energy_statistics

[3] https://www.eia.ov/energyexplained/us-energy-facts/imports-and-exports.php

[4] https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=40973

[5] https://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/hist/n9133us3m.htm

[6] https://www.txoga.org/txoga-statement-ukraine-invasion-underscores-importance-of-strong-domestic-energy-production/

[7] https://www.eia.gov/state/print.php?sid=TX

[8] https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=pet&s=mcrfptx2&f=a

[9] https://aoghs.org/petroleum-pioneers/roaring-ranger-wins-wwi/

[10] https://theconversation.com/energy-pipelines-are-controversial-now-but-one-of-the-first-big-ones-helped-win-world-war-ii-161729

[11] https://www.kltv.com/story/37257286/75th-anniversary-of-the-big-inch-pipeline/


About the Railroad Commission:


Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment,

our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic

vitality for the benefit of Texans. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas

and to the nation, including almost 100 years regulating the oil and gas industry. The Commission also has

jurisdiction over alternative fuels safety, natural gas utilities, surface mining and intrastate pipelines.

Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. To learn more,

please visit http://www.rrc.texas.gov/about-us/.