A surge in production in the Permian Basin of west Texas—-already the nation’s highest producing oilfield — is extracting more crude oil than refiners in Texas can handle. But now, producers in the Permian have new outlets for that oil with economic implications hundreds of miles away from the flatlands of west Texas. Based on crude oil export projections, port officials say they expect to add 5000 direct and indirect jobs in 2017.
“This is not a bubble, this is real growth,” said vessel traffic controller Mike Stineman, as he scanned real time navigation charts indicating vessel traffic at the port. Radio chatter between vessels, the Coast Guard and the Vessel Control Center provided a non-stop soundtrack of the the pulse of the port. A longtime ban on U.S. crude exports was lifted last year.