Letter to the Editor: Lack of energy demand is only temporary

May 18, 2020

John Waters, Carlsbad Current Argus | May 18, 2020

The oil and natural gas industry has long been an integral part of New Mexico’s economy. Not only does the industry provide hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs, but contributes billions of dollars in tax revenues and royalties for the benefit of our schools, healthcare systems and public projects every year.

As one of the leading oil and gas producing states in the United States, not only New Mexico, but the entire country depends on our plentiful natural resources. This would not be possible without the vital infrastructure to safely and efficiently move energy from the wellhead to consumers like you and me.

Recently, there have been calls to end infrastructure projects due to the current decline in energy demand. Yes, we have all seen the gas prices on the streets drop and commodity prices reach new lows. However, during these unprecedented times amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to remember, these circumstances are only temporary. Soon our nation’s economy will be back up and running, and the need for additional energy infrastructure will be paramount.

This includes the Double E Pipeline currently under construction right here in Eddy County. This additional infrastructure will help move 1,350 million cubic feet per day of New Mexico’s growing supply of natural gas to West Texas’ Waha Hub and on to demand centers along the U.S. Gulf Coast and our neighbors in Mexico. The additional takeaway capacity provided by the Double E pipeline will not only reduce the need for operators to flare or vent excess gas, but provide end-users with an affordable, clean-burning fuel source.

The Double E pipeline has undergone a robust, multi-agency approval process on both the state and federal level. This includes an extensive environmental review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) which found the project to have a very minimal impact to the surrounding area and communities it will travel through.

In addition, the pipeline operators have demonstrated their commitment to safety and environmental integrity, by utilizing the latest technologies and tools and meeting, at minimum, all requirements set out by the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration.

The Double E Pipeline, along with dozens of other infrastructure projects across the state, will continue to support New Mexico’s local economies for decades to come. As we all continue to hunker down at home, I urge you to remember this situation is only temporary. Soon New Mexico will be back on its feet and our state’s unprecedented oil and natural gas production will continue to play an integral role in our country’s economy.

John Waters

Executive Director, Carlsbad Department of Development