Infrastructure – Energy
Energy production, consumption and affiliated services are centrally important features of the Gulf Coast Region’s economy.
Oil and Gas
All of the region’s 13 counties produce oil and gas (Exhibit 39). In 2008, the region produced 11.6 million barrels of oil, 12.5 billion cubic feet of casinghead gas (a mixture of unrefined gases that can include methane, butane and propane), 282.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 6.4 million barrels of condensate (natural gas liquids). In 2008, Brazoria County led the region in oil production with 2 million barrels, while Wharton County led the region in natural gas production with 47.9 billion cubic feet.46
The area in and around Harris County includes the headquarters of several major energy companies. In particular, the Energy Corridor west of downtown Houston is home to the headquarters of BP, CITGO, ExxonMobil, Shell and ConocoPhillips. For more information on the region’s oil and gas industry, see p. 40-41.
Gulf Coast Region, Oil and Gas Production
Sources: Texas Railroad Commission and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
Natural gas is the most common fuel source for electricity generation facilities constructed in the Gulf Coast region since 1995. The region has 27 electricity plants operating or under construction, with a combined capacity of 7,789 megawatts.
Harris County has the largest number of these plants, with 13. There are four plants in Brazoria County, two in Chambers County, two in Fort Bend County, two in Galveston County, one in Matagorda County, one in Montgomery County and two in Wharton County. Twenty-three of these plants use natural gas for fuel, two use landfill gas, one uses nuclear power and one uses coal.49
Almost all of the Gulf Coast region lies within the boundaries of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the electric grid system that carries 85 percent of the state’s electric load. Liberty and Walker counties are in the area administered by the SERC Reliability Corporation, the grid system that covers most of the Southeast U.S. (Exhibit 40).
Texas began deregulating its retail electricity market in 2002. This deregulation, however, applies only to investor-owned utilities within the ERCOT region. Utilities owned by cities and rural cooperatives are not required to join the deregulated market. The Gulf Coast region has two municipally owned utilities and two rural cooperatives (Exhibit 41).
Most of the Gulf Coast region is subject to deregulation. In these areas, dozens of private companies compete to provide retail electric service to customers. The residential price per kWh in December 2009, based on a 1,000 kWh per month service plan, ranged from 10.1 cents to 14.9 cents in these areas.51
Areas in the ERCOT and SERC Electric Grids Gulf Coast Region
Sources: Electric Reliability Coouncil of Texas and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
Gulf Coast Region, Municipally Owned Utilities and Member-Owned Cooperatives
|Entity Name||Counties in Service Area|
|City of Bellville Utility Department||Austin|
|Weimar Electric Utilities||Colorado|
|Entity Name||Counties in Service Area|
|San Bernard Electric Cooperative||Austin, Colorado, Lavaca, Waller, Montgomery, Harris, Grimes and Fayette|
|Wharton County Electric Cooperative||Wharton|
Source: Public Utility Commission of Texas, Texas Electric Cooperatives.
PHOTO: Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
All links were valid at the time of publication. Changes to web sites not maintained by the office of the Texas Comptroller may not be reflected in the links below.
- 11 U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, “Table 7-7: Air Pollution in the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas: 2000-2007,” http://www.bts.gov/publications/state_transportation_statistics/state_transportation_statistics_2008/html/table_07_07.html; and National Aeronautics and Space Administration, “Aerosols over Houston and Galveston Bay,” http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=3170. (Last visited January 21, 2010.)
- 12 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Air Quality Index (AQI) - A Guide to Air Quality and Your Health,” http://cfpub.epa.gov/AIRNOW/index.cfm?action=aqibasics.aqi. (Last visited January 21, 2010.)
- 13 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Generating Reports and Maps,” http://www.epa.gov/air/data/reports.html. (Last visited October 20, 2009.) Custom query created for the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria CMSA; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act,” http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html, (Last visited March 1, 2010.)
- 46 Railroad Commission of Texas, “Oil and Gas Production Data Query,” http://webapps.rrc.state.tx.us/PDQ/generalReportAction.do (last visited October 30, 2009) with calculations by Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
- 49 Public Utility Commission of Texas, “New Electric Generating Plants in Texas,” http://www.puc.state.tx.us/electric/maps/index.cfm; and “Market Directories & Utilities: Electric Companies Serving Texas,” http://www.puc.state.tx.us/electric/directories/index.cfm. (Last visited November 10, 2009.) Texas Comptroller calculations from maps in PowerPoint and data in Excel.
- 50 South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company, “STP Plant Basics,” and “STP Fact Sheet- Power Plant and Nuclear Fundamentals,” http://www.stpnoc.com/media%20kit.htm; “STP Units 3 & 4,” http://www.stpnoc.com/New%20Units.htm; NRG Energy, “NRG Energy Submits Application for New 2,700 Megawatt Nuclear Plant in South Texas,” Princeton, New Jersey, September 24, 2007, http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=121544&p=irol-newsArticle_Print&ID=1054822&highlight (press release); U.S. Energy Information Administration, “South Texas Project, Texas,” http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/nuclear/page/at_a_glance/reactors/southtexas.html#_ftn1 (last visited January 21, 2010); and interview with Dave Knox, media contact, NRG Energy, Houston, Texas, November 19, 2009.
- 51 Electricity Texas, “Looking for Electricity in Your Area?” http://www.electricitytexas.com/service-areas.html. (Last visited November 18, 2009.) Custom queries created.