Positioned for Success


Last month I had the pleasure of hearing Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian speak at an event hosted by the San Antonio Business Journal. Like many in the industry, I have been increasingly optimistic about the future of oil and gas, and I was eager to hear Christian’s outlook on Texas’ energy sector. According to Christian, my optimism is warranted.

A financial planner by trade, Christian cut his oil and gas teeth as a member of the state legislature. His time in the Texas senate must have taught him the importance of political timing, and he kicked off his presentation with an acknowledgement of the fortuitous timing of his arrival at the Railroad Commission.

In dark red Texas, a Republican candidate probably couldn’t be faulted for expecting victory. What Christian probably didn’t expect, however, was the political sea change that would sweep a New York billionaire into the White House. Like many in the industry, Christian viewed Trump’s victory as a victory for oil and gas. The president’s cabinet appointments appear to confirm this supposition.

Echoing Trump’s pro-business stance, Christian indicated that he will take a light touch in regulating oil and gas, an approach that he hopes will protect the industry as it emerges from a two-year drought that saw oil prices plummet by nearly 74 percent. Central to the commissioner’s talking points was a discussion of the rapidly changing legal and regulatory environment for oil and gas. With many Obama-era environmental protections expected to be repealed, Christian said that he hopes we will be entering an era of regulatory sanity.

Christian did not directly address the growing tensions between Trump’s administration and Mexico, but suggested that he was cautiously optimistic. With Rick Perry leading the Energy Department and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson at Secretary of State, Christian indicated that industry plays in Mexico’s burgeoning fuels market appear to be safe.

If interest in cross-border storage and transport is any indication, Christian is spot on. Our terminal at the Port of Brownsville—Bluewing One—is gearing up for significant activity for the foreseeable future, and we just signed a lease to facilitate further expansion in excess of one million barrels.

In closing, I’ll just say this: It’s a good time to be in the oil and gas industry in Texas.

All the best,

Chad Smith