On February 22nd, our President, Omar Garcia visited Corpus Christi to speak at an event held by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Garcia spoke about multitudes of topics the communities have voiced their concern over, primarily dealing with the oil and gas industry.
Garcia began by thanking the audience and LULAC for the opportunity to speak to the community on behalf of STEER. He explained, “As a native South Texan from Kingsville, it is an honor to be here among the founding council of LULAC as we recognize these outstanding community leaders.
“STEER exists to ensure that the oil and gas industry and the communities in which we operate are working towards mutually beneficial goals. I’m proud to work for STEER and represent the largest oil and gas operators in the Eagle Ford Shale region. Our members provide energy resources to people like me and you. They provide the means for us to live the quality of life that we have become accustomed to.
“STEER members are proud to support our military and keep our country energy independent. In September, oil shipments from Saudi Arabia – which was once the dominant source of crude in America – reached the lowest levels in 30 years.”
Garcia drove a point home when he brought up our basic necessities that many take for granted. He continued, “Consider the winter we have had – we have all been able to heat our homes. This is all because of the oil and gas industry – our infrastructure and the regulations in Texas allow us to live in our homes with what we consider a necessity during the winter – heat.
“When I think about celebrating solidarity and being united, the first thing that comes to mind is equality. The oil and gas industry contributes to that by helping to provide access to life’s necessities. Food, water, shelter, electricity – all of these things are easily accessed because of the oil and gas industry.”
It’s important for us to remain united in our support for the oil and gas industry. Voting to keep oil and gas companies operating in South Texas is essential to all of us. Garcia expanded on this idea further, “In some cases, people living in low income households may use up to 40% of their money on energy. For all of us here today, we look at our electricity or gas bills and pay it without thinking twice. For many living in low income families, they have to choose between paying for their electricity or buying food for their family.
“STEER is focused on educating the future workforce right here in South Texas. The oil and gas industry – an industry that is in your backyard – is continuously looking for educated and qualified young men and women to join its workforce.
“I see education as an equalizer for our nation’s youth. Education offers opportunities that would not be otherwise available. When you look at the oil and gas industry, the white collar jobs are primarily occupied by white men. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. We can empower our youth – the youth of South Texas – with the education to change that!”
Much like LULAC, STEER is focused on the advancement of young people. Through STEER’s educational outreach programs, we encourage the youth of South Texas to move into STEM related educational and career paths.
Garcia went on to explain “the [oil and gas] industry is the backbone of the industry is innovation. Without the invention of hydraulic fracturing and the shale revolution, the oil and gas industry would look very different today. It’s incredible to think about the innovation that goes into extracting oil and natural gas from shale rock that is thousands of feet underground.
“As an industry, we need the young people in South Texas to go into STEM related fields to continue to innovate and drive efficiencies that will enable us to provide energy resources for the future.
“The oil and gas industry has helped to shape the Corpus Christi area. The lifting of the export ban has provided the Port of Corpus Christi with more growth opportunities and therefore more opportunities for South Texans.
“The industry has provided us with careers, a larger tax base, and an economic impact that no one could have predicted. It brings careers to South Texas so our children to have the opportunity to stay in South Texas with their families.”
In Nueces County alone, in 2016, the economic impact was over $5 million and there were approximately 34,000 jobs as a result of the oil and gas industry in the area. Garcia added, “We can all be a part of the oil and gas industry and its impact on South Texas. We can all be outstanding community leaders by mentoring our youth and continuing to remind them that there are so many options available to them.”
His speech ended with a congratulatory acknowledgement to those who were honored during the event and offered his sincere gratitude to them. He said, “It’s people like you that help to make a difference in our community and help to advance the mission of LULAC. We need more people like you in our communities.”
Beyond this event, STEER will continue its mission to educate the youth of South Texas on all the industry has to offer. We will also continue our crusade to connect the communities to the major oil and gas companies so we can all work towards a better future together.