Texas is in a position to lead the US toward energy solutions. According to Professor Ronald Oligney, director of the Texas Energy Center, "Houston has a huge tactical advantage" in the energy game by virtue of its extensive distribution grid and its leading role in the energy industry. Oligney told attendees of the International Association of Drilling Contractors' annual meeting in Houston that now is the time for Houston to make plans to assume the nation's leading role.
Oligney sees the energy supply focus moving away from oil toward natural gas. "Eventually, we graduate to hydrogen," he said. "Hydrogen is a great fuel. It's coming. And we (Texas) will be the leaders."
As supply has been the primary concern for oil, distribution infrastructure is the primary concern for gas, Oligney said. This is the point where Texas becomes a contender for future distribution. "Texas has 95% of America's hydrogen infrastructure," he said.
Oligney tied high employment numbers to a healthy fuel industry, illustrating a historical correlation between the interruption of oil flow and subsequent drops in employment. From his view, Texas stands to benefit by laying plans now to take advantage of the country's future energy needs.
One plan that is now moving from concept to reality is the construction of a Texas Energy Center in Sugar Land, Texas. Land has been found to construct a cluster of buildings where organizations and energy companies can share and develop ideas.
Oligney believes the Center will place Texas in a position to benefit from America's growing and changing energy needs. "Texas needs to put hydrogen infrastructure on a timeline and get on it," he said.