Texas’ crude oil production could peak at 4 million barrels per day should the industry be freed from regulation and allowed to grow, about a fourfold expansion from where it stands today, the head of the state’s oil and gas regulatory body declared last week.
Such a feat would see Texas alone becoming a major global oil powerhouse, eclipsed only by Saudi Arabia, Russia, Canada and the rest of the United States. But a “nightmare scenario” could see this optimistic picture reversed by 2020, the official warned.
Up for election this year for one of two openings on the three-member Texas Railroad Commission, current Chairman Barry Smitherman delivered a speech and took questions during an energy and environment forum, hosted by the Texas Tribune, at the University of Houston on Friday.
Smitherman gave some lofty predictions on where domestic oil supplies could be headed based on his reading of developments, but warned that the boom in oil drilling and production growth the United States is experiencing today could be upended by what he sees as onerous federal regulations and misguided environmental activism.
The greatest threat to Texas and U.S. energy potential, Smitherman said, is “regulations … that kill the technology that’s taking us to energy independence: hydraulic fracturing”…