CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Port of Corpus Christi is the number one exporter of U.S., Texas crude oil in the nation.
With the sanctions imposed on Russian crude oil by President Joe Biden last week, what does that mean for our Port and for our region?
One, it means the Port is poised to make more crude oil deliveries to our partners and allies around the world because there's more of a demand.
"The Permian Basin alone is producing more crude oil than any other OPEC nation with the exception of Saudi Arabia" said Port of Corpus Christi C.E.O. Sean Strawbridge.
These are records that have been set within the last month.
"If you're going to take a large supply of energy off the table, in this case Russia, you have to replace that and replacing that doesn't happen overnight" added Strawbridge.
He told us two things can help us ease gas prices here at home.
One is lessening federal regulations, so we as a nation can ship more crude oil.
"Whether that's permitting for more wells. Whether that's permitting for more pipelines. Whether that's appropriations to complete the Corpus Christi Ship Channel improvement project, which is still in need of additional appropriations for that project to be closed out sufficiently," he said.
The other component, Strawbridge said, is not forgetting about the demand we have for oil and gas today while we as a nation move to evolve towards clean energy.
The Port of Corpus Christi has already put into motion renewable energy initiatives, actively working a carbon-neutral hydrogen production facility.
"The Port of Corpus Christi recognizes that there is tremendous work that needs to be done in atmospheric de-carbonization as well as moving towards cleaner sources of energy, but those initiatives are going to take a tremendous amount of capital, lots of innovation and time to reach scale for the markets. And we are fully committed to that," said Strawbridge.
He went on to say "in the meantime, the world, including the United States, is seeing a growing appetite and growing demand for energy and the traditional sources of energy that are of course natural gas and crude oil. So the fact that this administration vilified the oil and gas industry as part of its climate action programs, that in our estimation was a bit of a misstep. We have to have a cogent energy policy that addresses the immediate needs while transitioning to longer-term goals."
The sanctions on Russia will also be affecting our region through jobs.
One in three jobs in the area are already connected to the Port of Corpus Christi.
If you work at the refineries, if you work at the Port, any operation in and around the Port, that means you're keeping busy.
And that means, according to Strawbridge, more money which gets re-invested into our community.