Oil and gas executives, attorneys, international businessmen and public policy experts recently gathered at the Houston office of Graves & Co. to hear Texas Railroad Commission candidate Roland Sledge speak about the oil and gas opportunities in Texas.
"Energy independence has been talked about and dreamed of by every president since Nixon, but now it's a reality, and Texas oilmen made it happen,” Sledge said.
“Since the late 1990s the advances in oil and gas technology, namely horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracing of shale formations, have resulted in a tremendous growth in our state’s and nation’s economy, creating tens of thousands of jobs and adding billions of dollars to it,” he said. “The result is a clear path to energy independence from potentially unfriendly governments that supply over 25 percent of our daily energy needs.”
Sledge referred to the current energy boom as a “geopolitical game changer” and felt if the industry continues to develop shale gas reserves, the US will be in a position to export energy rather than continuing to import it from potentially unfriendly governments. According to Sledge, it is estimated that over the next 5-10 years as many as 2 million private sector jobs could be created as a result of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracing, and billions of dollars of severance taxes will be added to state treasuries, potentially lifting the nation out of its current economic troubles.
While the shale formations present unlimited opportunities for Texas and other drilling regions, Sledge warned that the federal government’s efforts to regulate the industry could bring it all to a halt. Sledge believes that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is attempting to gain the authority to approve every horizontal well to be drilled, as well as the fracing of every horizontal well produced, by claiming its authority under the Clean Water Act.
Sledge said that Texas and the oil and gas businesses must utilize a best practices approach that follows “Railroad Commission regulations that keep pace with technological advances in the industry.” He further emphasized the importance of protecting the state’s ground water, lands and other natural resources for future generations, while at the same time continuing to produce more oil and gas.
In his speech, Sledge introduced his three-point plan for keeping the EPA out of the state of Texas.
- Institute a new electric log, allowing citizens to see that no contamination of groundwater has occurred, among other best practice issues. The log would be signed off on by the operator, the service company and the TRC.
- Work towards a 15-18 month goal of eliminating all toxic chemicals from the hydro-fracing process.
- Gradually stop using fresh water to frac, filter the flow back water to a potable state, and find ways to use non-potable water in the frac process.
With 35 years of experience as an oil and gas attorney and energy executive, Sledge said he knows what is required to protect the rights of all parties.
“I will be an independent voice that holds the industry accountable and serves the citizens of this great state,” he said. “Because if we do this right, if we do it like Texas oilmen know how to do it, we will usher in an era of prosperity the likes of which have not been seen in our lifetimes.”