Texas is producing more crude oil than ever, and demand for exports of that oil is surging. Nearly a year after Texas crude oil exports first surpassed imports, a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows crude oil exports are now at 3.3 million barrels per day--up by one million since just last month--and U.S. exports are on pace to surpass 9 million barrels per day within five years.
All of that crude flowing through pipelines to Gulf Coast refineries and ports is prompting massive expansion plans along the Texas coast. "You're seeing activity in ports we never saw before, like Brownsville," says Kym Bolado, host of KTRH's In The Oil Patch. "And there is a lot of investment we're seeing in the Port of Corpus Christi, because they are truly going to be identified as the energy port of the United States in the near future."
Bolado tells KTRH that Corpus Christi's location and coastal terrain are what make it attractive for expansion. "With Corpus Christi, there's been a real laser-like focus on deepening and widening their channel, so they can accept the big oil tankers," she says.
The port expansion will mean a lot of construction jobs, but the economic boon will go far beyond that. "You'll see a lot of new employment out in the Corpus Christi area," says Bolado. "Permanent jobs as well, and not just blue collar jobs, but you'll also see engineers and other high-paying jobs."
The big catalyst for the export boom was the 2015 move that lifted the federal ban on U.S. crude oil exports, but Bolado also credits federal actions taken since then. "As the Trump Administration has come on, it has cleared the path of a lot of different regulations, and removed them to help deregulate this industry and get it moving,” she says.