Myra Crownover: Manage resources better

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The idea of an energy independent America was once considered laughable. No one is laughing today. Many experts now feel that by 2020 the United States could not only be energy independent, but also could become the No. 1 producer of oil and gas in the world.

Every year from 1952 to 2005, our dependence on foreign oil and gas increased.

However, that changed in 2005 when our reliance on foreign oil actually began to decrease for the first time in decades.

In fact, according to a recent report by the International Energy Agency, America is on its way to being oil independent by 2030.

Like most great stories, the story of how our energy outlook changed so dramatically begins in Texas. The saying goes something like, “if you want something done, tell a Texan it’s impossible.”

Texans have always led the way in oil and gas production. In 1972 oil production in the Permian Basin was beginning to decline.

Geologists and engineers knew there was additional oil to be recovered from the Permian so they looked for innovative ways to get the oil out of the ground.

They injected CO2 into depleted oil fields through a process called Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). Today, 20 percent of Texas oil production comes from EOR.

Another one of the most important innovations in domestic energy production also came out of Texas.

The combination of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” combined with horizontal drilling techniques has revolutionized the production of oil and gas. Texas energy producers developed the first large-scale production of natural gas from a shale formation.

The development of the Barnett Shale is a game-changer for the United States.

Major shale gas formations are being discovered from Pennsylvania to Wyoming. Right here in northeast Texas, the Barnett Shale is the birthplace of the new energy boom.

In South Texas, the Eagle Ford Shale is one of the richest oil and gas fields discovered in North America in decades, and the Cline shale play in West Texas might be the largest new source of oil yet.

Texas is not an economic leader by accident. A fair, predictable and well-balanced regulatory climate, along with a “can-do” attitude, has positioned Texas at the head of the line to realize the benefits of the dawn of an energy windfall. From 2011 to 2012, Texas’ oil production rose by nearly 100 million barrels.

Energy independence is not guaranteed. Currently, of the 8.9 million barrels of crude oil that the U.S. imports daily, more than 30 percent comes from countries that don’t share our values of liberty and the rule of law.

So what can we do better?

If we are to fully realize energy independence, we must find a better way to use our energy resources. The United States now has an abundance of natural gas. While domestic oil production is increasing, we are still a long way from ending our imports of oil.

Increasing the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) in our vehicles would better utilize the resources we have domestically and improve air quality at the same time.

Car manufacturers including GM, Ford and Honda are increasing production of vehicles that are designed to run on natural gas.

In addition, Texas is adding CNG fueling stations throughout the state and filling a car with CNG is as quick and easy as filling up with gasoline.

With about 264 million vehicles on the road, if we replaced 8 percent of the fleet of vehicles, oil imports from unfriendly countries could be significantly curtailed.

Energy independence is not just a pipe dream any longer.

For the first time in decades, we can potentially end the unhealthy relationship between the United States and countries that want nothing more than our money and our demise.

REP. MYRA CROWNOVER, R-Denton, represents House District 64 and is serving her seventh full term in the Texas House of Representatives. She serves as the vice chairwoman of the House Committee on Energy Resources.


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