April 15, 2020
This column originally appeared in the Beeville Bee-Picayune.
Throughout South Texas, families, businesses and community leaders are being overwhelmed with questions surrounding the spread of COVID-19 and the disruption of normalcy in the region. Most communities have been asked to “stay home” in order to slow the spread of the virus. Working from home, homeschooling, and minimizing contact with others has become our new normal.
Although the pace of daily life has slowed down for many of us, families continue to plan for the future, cities and counties continue to strategically anticipate the needs of their communities, and schools prepare to teach students in non-traditional forums. At the South Texas Energy and Economic Roundtable (STEER), we also continue to work and find ways to be a resource for communities in this difficult time.
We understand that South Texas is strong and resilient. As Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association, wrote recently, “The Texas oil and natural gas industry is no stranger to volatile swings, and operators have proven themselves nimble and innovative in challenging times.” Likewise, South Texas is no stranger to the ups and downs in oil and natural gas. We know that the oil and natural gas industry is an essential component to our state’s critical infrastructure and Texans can rest assured that energy companies are continuing to responsibly produce, transport and refine oil and natural gas into the fuels, products and power that we need.
In times like these, experts hunker down and find ways to make our industry successful. Like every business around the globe, oil and natural gas companies are looking for innovative ways to weather the impact of this global pandemic coupled with a crude oil pricing war. If past downturns are any indication, it is possible that the industry could emerge from this challenging season smarter and stronger than before.
Investments in innovation and technology have allowed companies in the Eagle Ford Shale to produce oil and meet demand in cleaner, more efficient ways than ever before. Meanwhile, throughout the state, companies continue to maintain high environmental standards. In fact, just last week, an alliance of Texas oil and natural gas trade associations and nearly 40 Texas energy companies announced a new coalition dedicated to advancing environmental progress through minimizing flaring and methane emissions.
As an arm of the Texas Oil & Gas Association, STEER is doing our best to keep communities informed. We are working with partners all across the state to leverage resources for first responders, the medical industry, communities in need, and to provide the latest information in energy. As a fundamental economic driver, the oil and natural gas industry will continue to collaborate and educate the community as we build back our economies.
Stephanie Moreno is the Executive Director for South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable.