The shale boom in West Texas got another boost this week, when a district court in Travis County struck down a legal challenge to Kinder Morgan's proposed Permian Highway Pipeline Project. The $2 billion, 400-mile pipeline would carry some 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from West Texas to the Gulf Coast. Opponents had sued to block construction of the pipeline, arguing it would threaten sensitive areas and seize private land through eminent domain without proper public input. But the court ruled that state law does not require state regulators to oversee or approve the routing of pipelines such as this.
Kym Bolado, host of KTRH's In the Oil Patch radio show, says the court simply upheld current law. "Texas law states that there must not be any municipality or city that has the ability to block critical infrastructure necessary for moving energy needs," she tells KTRH. "Texas understands how important infrastructure is, and making sure that we are investing in it to make sure that we are able to get our resources to the refineries, as well as be able to use them here."
The added capacity is needed to accommodate the ongoing shale boom in the Permian Basin. U.S. shale gas production is projected to reach 81.4 billion cubic feet per day in July, a record high and the 18th consecutive monthly increase. Most of that production comes from Texas. "The projection (for this pipeline) is one billion dollars in additional revenue each year for the state of Texas," says Bolado. "We definitely need this revenue for the state, as well as this infrastructure."