By Bethany Blankley

Ramping up oil production in West Texas and other U.S. states instead of relying on foreign production is the best way to reduce gas prices, create energy independence and strengthen national security in the U.S. and other western nations, Texas leaders say. The only ones standing in the way are those in the Biden administration, they argue.

Before Russia invaded Ukraine, gas prices were skyrocketing under the Biden administration. Most of Europe relied on Russia for almost half of its natural gas supply and on China for renewables for another fifth of its energy, Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian said. The agency he leads oversees the $7 trillion Texas oil and gas industry.

Still, the Biden administration and other nations prioritized reliance on foreign oil instead of on American oil and gas.

As Russia invaded Ukraine, Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted, “From day one, Biden has prohibited our ability to drill oil and natural gas. The situation in Russia and Ukraine will make gas prices even higher. Texas can drill enough oil and natural gas to keep prices low here in America and in Europe if Biden would get out of the way.”

Christian, who’s running for re-election, has called on President Joe Biden to stop hampering U.S. oil production.

In a recent RCC column, he argued, “Since taking office, President Biden made every poor decision he could make to cripple our geopolitical standing in the world. From handing Afghanistan to the Taliban to destroying our American energy dominance, it’s clear this administration cares more about appeasing radical leftwing activists than doing what is right for the American people.”

Reliance on communist countries for energy has jeopardized European nations’ national security, Christian said. Instead of relying on Moscow, they can turn to Midland and other oil-producing towns in Texas and America.

“There are better alternatives, and buying American is the solution,” he said.

The European Union could buy American Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), Christian argued. LNG is dependable, affordable and cleaner than coal. It’s also a fraction of the price of European gas, and Texas can meet the demand, he added.

Currently, Texas represents a quarter of the U.S.’ natural gas production. In 2011, the U.S. surpassed Russia to become the world's largest producer of natural gas, the EIA reports.

Texas “is ready to meet U.S. energy needs and help our European allies meet theirs,” Christian said. The industry just needs the “green light” from the Biden administration, industry leaders said; instead, they’ve been getting a red light.

From federal leasing bans to canceled pipelines and increased regulations, investors, producers, and refiners have had mounting roadblocks over the past year, in addition to spending money suing the government so they can operate instead of investing in production.

The Permian Basin in West Texas is operating at near historic levels, producing five million barrels a day. It could produce more, if inflation and supply chain issues weren’t creating additional challenges and costs, operators argue. Abbott met with industry leaders in Odessa and Austin this week to address their concerns.

"The Lone Star State will not sit idly by as the federal government continues to attack energy jobs, raise energy costs, and destroy the quality of life for all Americans,” Abbott said at a TIPRO event in Austin.

Biden administration policies ignore the fact that carbon emissions in the U.S. are far lower than in Russia and China, Texas Oil and Gas Association president Todd Staples said.

“Our nation has an opportunity to reshape American energy policy that recognizes oil and natural gas as an asset rather than a liability,” he added.

Under the Trump administration, in 2019, the U.S. became a net exporter of energy for the first time since 1953, the EIA reported, with Texas leading the nation. In 2018, it surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world's largest producer of petroleum. The increases of production in 2018 “was one of the largest absolute petroleum and natural gas production increases from a single country in history,” the EIA reports.

Texas’ and the U.S.’ energy prowess “gave us affordable energy, thousands of new jobs, economic growth, and national security,” Christian said. “Our country achieved this by simply empowering, instead of attacking, domestic oil and gas producers.”

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