Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
A planned crude oil and condensate pipeline across the Texas Hill Country would cross over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone on its route from West Texas to south of San Antonio, according to a map obtained by the Rivard Report.
A set of slides from Houston-based pipeline company Enterprise Products Partners dated September 2019 includes a route map that shows the pipeline extending from Midland County to Wilson County, crossing Upton, Reagan, Crockett, Schleicher, Sutton, Edwards, Real, Kerr, Bandera, Uvalde, Medina, Frio, and Atascosa counties along the way. The route would put the pipeline over the area where water recharges the Edward Aquifer, the main drinking water supply for 2 million people in the San Antonio region.
Although the slides appear to come from a Powerpoint presentation, it’s not clear who the audience was. Rick Rainey, vice president of public relations for Enterprise Products Partners, did not respond to phone messages and emails Wednesday and Thursday seeking comment.
See the Enterprise presentation here.
In the presentation, Enterprise officials state the pipeline will be “subject to extensive State and federal regulation and oversight” and that the design of its pipeline and pump stations “meets or exceeds best industry standards and practices.” Operations will be “monitored 24-7 from Enterprise’s state-of-the-art control center.” It also pledges that the company will perform all required environmental surveys and assessments.
The company plans to have the 30-inch-diameter pipeline built and in service by the first half of 2021, according to the slides.
In an email Thursday, Texas Railroad Commission spokeswoman Ramona Nye said “protection of public safety and our natural resources is the Railroad Commission’s highest priority” and that pipeline operators must stay in compliance with the commission’s pipeline safety rules. The Railroad Commission regulates the state’s oil and gas industry.
“The Railroad Commission has no jurisdiction over the routing or siting of … pipelines,” Nye continued. “The pipeline route is determined by the pipeline’s owner/operator.”
The slides described a pipeline labeled “Midland to ECHO 4,” according to the presentation, which bears Enterprise’s logos. In an earnings call earlier this year, Enterprise CEO A.J. “Jim” Teague said the company has filed permits to build a line called Midland to ECHO 3, which will transport oil from the Permian Basin in West Texas to the company’s ECHO terminal in Harris County, though he did not mention Midland to ECHO 4.
The company’s 4,200 miles of pipeline in Texas also include crude oil pipelines in South Texas and along the Gulf Coast, according to its system map. Enterprise has built $42 billion in pipelines and associated terminal and other facilities since it first went public in 1998, the presentation states. It also operates pipelines in 11 other states.
Earlier this month, landowners in Bandera County received letters asking for permission to survey their properties as part of an Enterprise pipeline project pipeline under a limited liability corporation – M2E4 LLC.
The presentation calls the Permian Basin “one of the world’s most prolific basins,” with production expected to double from nearly 4 million barrels of oil per day to 8 million barrels per day by 2025.
“Pipelines are the safest and most efficient way to transport the liquid petroleum and natural gas that millions of Americans rely on for their daily way of life,” the presentation states, adding that the pipeline’s capacity would effectively replace 2,500 tanker trucks on the road per day needed to transport an equivalent amount of oil.
“Oil and natural gas has played a critical role in Texas’ resilient and vibrant economy, and it continues to keep our energy prices affordable and reliable today,” it states.