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Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Friday
Aug032018

Energy sector touts economic, charitable impact

Cathy Shull serves on the Board of Directors of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance as well as executive director of Pro 15.  Her comments make the connection between transportation and the energy sector in moving equipment and personnel to production areas in Colorado and across the North American Ports-to-Plains region.

BizWest

Cathy Shull, executive director of Pro 15, which advocates on behalf of northeastern Colorado, said that as oil and gas production increases, the industry has become more attractive to potential employees seeking the industry’s higher-paying jobs.

That’s made it difficult for other industries — including dairies and other ag producers — to find and retain workers.

Shull said that energy development — including wind farms — has brought many ancillary developments to the 15 counties that Pro 15 represents, including new hotels, communities and other amenities.

She said that the Ports to Plains Alliance, a federal transportation corridor linking Mexico to Canada and including eastern Colorado, would link the oil-and-gas regions of Texas with those of Canada.

“It will provide a huge boost to our economy in northeastern Colorado,” she said.

Colorado’s oil and gas sector contributed $31.38 billion into the state’s economy in 2015, with 232,900 jobs, according to a 2017 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers. And part of that annual economic impact is felt by donations to charitable organizations, projected at $5.2 million in 2017.

The economic impact of the energy sector — and its impact on nonprofits — was the message from two panels at the Energy Summit, Tuesday, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Greeley at Lincoln Park. The event was presented by BizWest.

“The benefits of oil and gas to Colorado communities are immense,” said Dan Haley, president and chief executive of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, highlighting a soon-to-be-released study of charitable activities by the oil-and-gas sector that found $5.2 million in charitable donations during 2017.

“This is just what we were able to collect from our members, so you know that that number is much higher,” he said.

Haley sat on a panel titled, “In the Community,” highlighting the impact of the oil-and-gas sector on nonprofits. The panel also included Ray Tschillard, director of the Poudre Learning Center; Bob O’Connor, executive director of the Weld Food Bank; and Susan Fakharzadeh, senior manager, community relations at PDC Energy Inc. and chairwoman of the Boys and Girls Club. The panel was moderated by Craig Rasmuson, vice president, community relations, SRC Energy Inc.

Haley referenced a snapshot of charitable activities by oil-and-gas companies in May:

Read on…

Friday
Jul272018

Our American Infrastructure: America's Leaders in Their Own Words (Video)

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

Our infrastructure is the backbone of our economy. In this video, Chairman Shuster welcomes luminaries from the past who were instrumental in championing infrastructure investment. Watch Adam Smith, President Lincoln, President Eisenhower and President Reagan explain in their own words why investments in infrastructure were just as important in their time, as they are today.

 

Thursday
Jul262018

Texas, By Itself, Is Now The World’s Third Largest Oil Producer

The rise of Texas, which is also home to the Eagle Ford oilfield in the state’s south, shows how the shale oil revolution has reshaped the global energy landscape. The United States is pumping more oil than ever before, making it less reliant on the turbulent Middle East for imports.

The Hayride

That’s not a typo. It’s the truth about the world’s most dynamic energy superpower, and what the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin have done for Texas’ oil industry.

Don’t mess with Texas. It’s a global oil superpower.

The shale oil boom has brought a gold rush mentality to the Lone Star State, which is home to not one but two massive oilfields.

Plunging drilling costs have sparked an explosion of production out of the Permian Basin of West Texas. In fact, Texas is pumping so much oil that it will surpass OPEC members Iran and Iraq next year, HSBC predicted in a recent report.

If it were a country, Texas would be the world’s No. 3 oil producer, behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia, the investment bank said.

“It’s remarkable. The Permian is nothing less than a blessing for the global economy,” said Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group, a consulting firm.

The hyper growth out of Texas is needed because oil prices have risen sharply and major players like Saudi Arabia are quickly maxing out their production.

Much of the excitement in Texas centers around the Permian Basin. Some oil execs believe the amount of oil in the Permian rivals Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar Field, the world’s largest conventional oilfield.

Rapid technological advances have dramatically brought down the cost of pumping oil everywhere, especially out of the Permian. Wells there can be profitable below $40 a barrel.

Read on…

Wednesday
Jul252018

House GOP chairman introduces draft of infrastructure plan

“This discussion draft does not represent a complete and final infrastructure bill. It is meant to reignite discussions amongst my colleagues, and I urge all Members to be open-minded and willing to work together in considering real solutions that will give America the modern day infrastructure it needs," Shuster said.

The Hill

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, released a draft of a long-awaited infrastructure plan on Monday that addresses possible funding sources for a number of potential projects, and levies taxes on multiple fuel sources.

The bill calls for significant federal investment in infrastructure projects and grant programs through at least 2021. It includes billions of dollars in grant funding, as well as trillions in appropriations for projects of national significance, though the numbers — along with the rest of the proposal — are subject to change.

To provide at least partial funding, the draft calls for a 15-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline and a 20-cent-per-gallon tax on diesel. The increases would be phased in over a 3-year period. At that point, the fees would be indexed to inflation before they are ultimately eliminated in September 2028.

Shuster's plan includes "corresponding increases in similar user fees on alternative fuels," such as a 10 percent tax on the wholesale price of bicycle tires on adult bikes, as well as a 10 percent tax on the price of electric car batteries.

Read on…

Friday
Jul202018

Amazon Transportation and Logistics Executive Shares View of the Future

Katie Thomson, a former Obama-administration U.S. Department of Transportation official who now serves as vice president and general counsel for Amazon's transportation and logistics operations, offered her perspective on some of the future transportation challenges and opportunities facing America during a speech at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 2018 Joint Policy Committee meeting in Spokane, Washington, on July 18.

"Safe and reliable transportation is the lifeblood of our nation; it is critical to our economic prosperity," she noted. "Well-planned transportation provides connections to our urban, suburban and rural communities. That includes passenger and freight rail, airplanes, roads, bicycles and pedestrian modes of transport."

The challenges facing the U.S. transportation, however, are coming from different angles and all at once, Thomson noted.

For example, she pointed to USDOT research conducted in 2017 that found commuters waste one week per year just sitting in traffic. She also highlighted a report by the American Transportation Research Institute that the cost of traffic congestion to commercial trucking operations tops $63 billion. Thomson also noted that traffic fatalities have sharply increased over the last several years, while the quality of U.S. transportation infrastructure continues to decline.

"We will need to invest over $1.2 trillion in our nation's infrastructure over the next decade just to catch up to where we should be," she emphasized.

Yet demands upon the transportation system will only increase as it is expected to be moving 70 million more people by 2045, with freight volumes increasing 40 percent and air traffic passenger volume going up 50 percent by that year as well, Thomson pointed out.

Read on…

Thursday
Jul052018

Hale Wind Project finalized

Amarillo Globe-News

Xcel Energy announced Tuesday its formal purchase of the Hale Wind Project from NextEra Energy Resources.

Construction on the 478-megawatt wind farm in Hale County will begin later this month, according to Xcel officials. The cost of the project will be about $735 million. The deal was finalized about two weeks ago.

“Our community partners and landowners have worked very hard to make this happen, and we’re honored to play a role in building a wind farm that will bring significant economic benefits to this area for years to come,” said David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy – Texas, in a prepared statement.

Wanzek Construction, Xcel Energy’s contractor, will build the Hale Wind Project near Petersburg, which is about 30 miles south of Plainview and 100 miles south of Amarillo.

Construction activities will start during the next few weeks, and the first delivery of Vestas turbines is expected in October. The Hale Wind Project is expected to be in commercial operation next June, Xcel stated.

NextEra Energy Resources developed the project through a partnership with Hale County landowners. Xcel Energy announced in March 2017 that it had agreed to purchase the development as part of its 1,230-megawatt wind energy expansion initiative expected to deliver more than $2 billion in energy savings to Xcel’s customers in Texas and New Mexico during the next 30 years, according to the news release.

Xcel Energy has gained the necessary approvals from regulators in both Texas and New Mexico to move forward with the plan.

Read on…

Thursday
Jun072018

America Seizes Control of Its Energy Destiny

The Ports-to-Plains Corridor connects this energy development across the region including the Permian Basin, Bakken, Eagle Ford and Niobrara.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Many Americans have likely noticed a spike in gas prices just as we enter the summer driving season, which is fairly typical due to the changeover from winter to summer crude oil. While higher prices are always a headache and a burden for families, the situation has yet to become as dire as many of the price spikes from decades past—and it likely never will. The days of the world’s biggest oil producers having the U.S. over a barrel, literally, are unlikely to return, thanks in large part to a renaissance in U.S. energy production that has been bolstered by the Trump administration’s emphasis on pro-growth energy policies.

Ten years ago, in June 2008, you and I were paying just over $4 per gallon for gasoline. Today, even with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, attempting to tamp down much of the global supply to push prices higher, American consumers are weathering the storm with gasoline hovering around $3 a gallon. This is far better than many European countries, where gas prices are well over $6 and rising.

We owe much of this to a dramatic energy renaissance in America that has given us greater control over our own supply. In a short period of time, our country has gone from a major energy importer to a major energy exporter of oil and natural gas. In fact, today the U.S. is the world’s top producer of these critical resources.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is proud of the role our Global Energy Institute has played in this remarkable turnaround. The Institute has fought misguided regulations, run effective policy campaigns, and mobilized our members at every level. It led efforts to lift the oil export ban, unleash production in previously restricted areas, and speed up the permitting process. And it has worked on behalf of the entire industry, uniting the sector behind a common strategy and moving all forms of energy forward.

Read on…

Wednesday
Jun062018

Nebraska receives $18.3 million grant for Heartland Expressway

This announcement moves forward another segment of the 2,300-mile corridor through the nine-state Ports-to-Plains Alliance region.

Currently, the portion of the project that is currently under construction is Junction L62A US 385 to Alliance. That leg of the project is expected to be completed by 2020 — which is the leg this grant is dedicated to. Following the completion of that leg, the next step will be construction on the stretch between Minatare and Angora Hill, which isn’t projected to begin until 2024.

Scottsbluff Star Herald

Nebraska has been selected as the recipient for an $18.3 million federal grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America.

This grant will be applied directly to the Heartland Expressway, specifically the corridor between Angora Hill and the Box Butte county line.

“I worked with Nebraskans — our state, local and community leaders — and U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to bring this funding to our state,” said Sen. Deb Fischer in a press release announcing the grant. “This major investment, and several others announced today, will allow the Nebraska Department of Transportation to build and promote economic development that will grow Nebraska.”

The Heartland Expressway, a 500-mile stretch of highway connecting Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and South Dakota, was originally brainstormed in the 1980s. Construction began in the 90s, and nearly 30 years later, the Panhandle is receiving work on its section of the Expressway,

“This announcement follows a historic commitment from the State of Nebraska to build the 21st-century infrastructure system we need to grow our state,” said Gov. Pete Ricketts in a press release Tuesday. “Along with Sen. Fischer’s Build Nebraska Act and our Transportation Innovation Act, this grant will help us fulfill Gov. Orr’s vision for expanding our state’s expressway system. I am pleased that the Trump Administration recognized the innovative approach by the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) to modernize our infrastructure to improve safety and drive economic growth in rural Nebraska.”

“It (funding) helps to provide that certainty and demonstrate that it’s an idea that’s taken hold,” said Doug Hoevet, District 5 engineer with Nebraska Department of Transportation.

Read on…