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Pro-con: Should Texas invest in pipelines to move oil and gas?

By Sara Sneath
Aug. 31, 2014 at 6:21 p.m.

Work crews are busy digging a trench that will hold a flow line bringing oil from a new rig site to holding tanks about a half mile away in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. The network of pipe line runs along the roadway making it easier to detect leaks.

More than 2.6 million miles of pipelines, enough to circle the Earth about 100 times, transport the majority of oil and natural gas in the U.S., according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration.

But the ongoing boom in Eagle Ford Shale oil production has outpaced the transit capacity of Texas pipeline infrastructure.

The oil and gas industry is predicted to spend $30 billion this year investing in projects in the Eagle Ford Shale, much of this investment is anticipated to be in pipeline infrastructure, according to GlobalData.

Transport by tanker truck, barge and railroad has increased to fill the gaps.

But risks come with each form of transit. While trucks spill the largest amount of oil, barge spills, such as the one in the Houston Ship Channel in March, pose the greatest danger to sensitive ecosystems.

"I think the oil and gas industry wants to make sure that we work with South Texas to get the best mode of transportation to get the product to market," said Omar Garcia, the president and CEO of South Texas Energy and Economic Roundtable.

An estimated 1.5 thousand barrels of oil and 6.5 million cubic feet of gas will be produced per day in the Eagle Ford Shale Play in September, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. There are four modes of transportation to move the product: by rail, truck, barge or pipeline.

Which type of transit should Texas invest in?

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