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Editorial comment

Texas is now the second most populous state in the US, gaining an average of 412 958 residents annually between 2000 and 2022 for a total population of 30 029 572. The growth has been startlingly rapid: in 2010, Texas’ population was just two-thirds that of California. By 2022, it was more than three-fourths of the nation’s most populus state.

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In addition to the population growth, Texas is now home to a rapidly growing number of energy-intense businesses. In 2021, 62 corporations relocated their headquarters here to take advantage of the state’s abundant supply of natural gas, the nation’s largest and most integrated pipeline infrastructure network and the state’s adherence to competitive, free-market principles in private business dealings.

Not only does the pipeline industry transport the vital natural gas, crude oil and numerous other hydrocarbon products that are utilised by Texans and Americans every day, but the Texas midstream industry is also an economic powerhouse.

According to the recently released 2022 ‘Analysis of the Current and Future Economic Impact of the Texas Oil and Gas Pipeline Industry’ study, through ongoing operations and construction in 2022 alone, the industry provided more than US$60.5 billion in economic output; more than US$34 billion in additional gross state product; nearly US$3.6 billion in state and local government revenues; more than 234 000 jobs; and an estimated US$12 250 in property tax revenues generated per mile of a pipeline for a typical Texas county.

Conducted by the Center for Energy Commerce at Texas Tech University and commissioned by the Texas Pipeline Association (TPA), the study also found that the strength of the midstream industry is expected to continue. Over the next 40 years, in today’s dollars, the pipeline industry is conservatively expected to generate cumulative economic impacts of US$1.86 trillion in economic output; US$1.05 trillion in additional gross state product; US$110.34 billion in state and local government revenues; nearly 525 000 jobs; and US$377 000 in cumulative property tax revenues generated per mile of a pipeline for a typical Texas county.

In addition to fueling our homes, businesses and the economy, pipelines are the safest, most reliable, efficient and economic means of transporting large quantities of natural gas, crude and refined petroleum products.

Using pipelines to transport oil and gas also helps to protect the environment, reducing the burden on our infrastructure, in part because pipelines take tanker trucks off the road. A moderate 20 in. pipeline running 50 miles through a county can displace 1650 trucks – lessening congestion, pollution, traffic accidents and highway damage.

Texas’ 437 747 miles of intrastate pipelines are also part of a growing infrastructure that transports new, lower-carbon fuels that help to reduce emissions.

Lower-carbon fuels, such as biofuel, hydrogen fuel and sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), are examples of renewables that may use existing pipelines that have been repurposed. Along with these fuels, both propane and natural gas are considered lower carbon when compared with traditional alternatives. In addition, the advent of CO2 pipelines has the potential to provide additional opportunities for the Texas midstream industry.

Whichever type of hydrocarbons are being transported, pipelines are the lifeblood of the energy system. Now, more than ever, it is essential that America has the needed pipeline infrastructure to provide consumers with dependable, low-cost sources of energy and industry with the raw materials used in the production of a myriad of common household and healthcare products.

  • Texas Joins California as State with 30-Million-Plus Population, United States Census Bureau; 30 March 2023.
  • YTexas Relo Tracker Report, Tracking Corporate Relocations to Texas in 2021; May 2022.
  • 2022 Analysis of the Current and Future Economic Impact of the Texas Oil and Gas Pipeline Industry study, Texas Tech University, Center for Energy Commerce Rawls College of Business; May 2023.
  • Texas Pipeline System Mileage, Railroad Commission of Texas; 2022.