By Kelly Hall

 Across Texas, our oil and natural gas industry fuels our local and state economies, generating jobs and providing tax revenue for everything from roads to schools.  And, that’s especially true right here in East Texas. That’s why the Longview Chamber of Commerce is a proud partner for Texas Energy Day on March 22nd – a day intended to remind all Texans and our state lawmakers about the role of oil and natural gas in our daily lives and our state and local economy.

 Here in Longview, we’re an energy epicenter in some very real and remarkable ways. We sit at the crossroads of rail lines, pipelines, chemical industry facilities and the Haynesville/Bossier shale formation. And, the energy industry ties with the manufacturing (which, I’d add, relies on a strong energy sector) for employment in the area, second only to our ever-expanding health care sector.  

 Since the early East Texas gushers in 1930, East Texans have produced nearly 5.5 billion barrels of oil to date.  

 But beyond the barrels, our region’s pipeline infrastructure has played a key role in moving energy across the state and around the nation. It was the “Big Inch” pipeline in World War II that delivered East Texas crude to Pennsylvania.  

 Today, pipeline infrastructure in and around Longview has grown and continues to expand in capacity and the amount of product moved. For example, pipelines in our area play a key role in moving petroleum product from Cushing, Oklahoma as well as to and from the Permian Basin of West Texas.  

 Houston-based Plains built a 16-inch, 226-mile pipeline from the Plains Basin at Duncan, Oklahoma to Longview. Plains’ investment in East Texas should continue to pay dividends as the company looks to increase capacity from Longview to Shreveport through a joint-partnership.  

 The East Texas rail facility puts Longview and American Midstream Partners’ on the map for its ability to seamlessly move good and products from production and product terminals to markets across Texas and the U.S.

 Drilling down further, East Texas’ economic strength and diversity benefits from an industry cluster that brings together machinery, chemicals, fabricated metals and other manufacturing-related fields right here in Longview’s backyard. Companies like Halliburton Services and Eastman Chemical are joined by telecommunications equipment manufacturers like General Dynamics SATCOM, all relying on Longview’s and East Texas’ workforce and our strong energy sector.[1]  

 While the Texas energy sector may experience its ups and downs, as we’ve seen and felt over the past year, it’s a crucial part of our community and our local economy.  

 East Texas benefits when state leaders remain committed to a business environment that spurs investment, provides for predictable regulations and generates jobs. With a strong energy sector, Longview and East Texas will continue to make a positive energy impact on our local and state economies.