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OPEC cuts won't affect local oil industry

Posted at 5:45 PM, Dec 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-16 19:28:35-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia agreed to temporarily cut oil production by 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day. The move is intended to reduce a global oil surplus caused by increased production here in America.

The Port of Corpus Christi is now moving record amounts of oil overseas. The Port's various partners are now loading a million barrels a day, thanks to new pipelines opening and bringing more oil to Corpus Christi from West Texas. It's numbers like those that have Port officials confident a decrease in foreign oil production won't have much effect locally.

“I think that's really testament to the emergence of the United States as the largest energy producer in the world,” said Port of Corpus Christi CEO Sean Strawbridge.

OPEC and its partners hoped production cuts would raise prices, and they did, but not by much. West Texas crude has only gone up a dollar a barrel since OPEC's announcement last week. Strawbridge doesn't expect much change between now and when OPEC’s cuts expire in March 2020.

“You will see a lot less price volatility as the United States continues to provide sufficient and significant supply to the international market,” said Strawbridge.

Strawbridge said the September drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil field cut its production by half. Here at home, we never saw extreme price hikes, in part because oil exports here and through other American ports kept worldwide prices stable.

“Had that incident happened a mere 10 years ago or even less, we could have seen oil easily spike to over $100 a barrel,” said Strawbridge.

That’s good news for our growing local oil industry.

“The jobs that are created here locally in the Corpus Christi region, certainly in Texas, we think are going to remain pretty secure,” said Strawbridge.

OPEC plans to resume full production next March. If that happens, experts predict the price of oil will keep dropping.

West Texas crude traded at just over $60 a barrel Monday. Industry analysts predict that could drop into the low $40s if OPEC increases its production.