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Permian Basin focusing on future energy innovation technology

With the area known for being a leader in energy production, a potential 10-year investment is being planned to make it a future energy innovation hub.

ODESSA, Texas — The Permian Basin is known for being a leader in energy production, but the future could also see it become a region of energy innovation. The University of Texas in Austin, along with the University of Texas Permian Basin, Midland College, Odessa College and many other institutions are working with a $1 million grant to propose a plan that could ultimately lead to a 10-year investment. 

The goal is to bring resources to the Permian Basin and have it lead in new energy technology. With hydrogen and carbon capture part of exciting developments in energy innovation, the energy footprint in the Permian Basin has it positioned to benefit. 

“So just thinking about the resources in the Permian Basin, how can those be utilized in the future in a way that isn’t happening already, and kind of keep the Permian Basin out in front as an energy…super-hub is a way to think about it," said Brian Korgel, Director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. 

With the Permian Basin a center of energy production through oil and gas production, as well as renewable methods, it’s current culture has made it the focus for a future energy innovation hub. 

“We hope to be having technologies piloted in the region and companies probably supporting that, but our real goal is actually to bring resources to the region…so to foster that development as much as we can and leverage the unique assets, land assets and workforce capabilities in the Permian [Basin] to draw that investment to the region," said Korgel. 

Korgel believes the early adopters of emerging energy technologies could be in the Permian Basin. 

Understanding the boom-and-bust cycles of the oil and gas industry gives this innovative outlook upside. 

“By diversifying the range of energy technologies that are deployed in the Permian Basin -- maybe level out some of the boom-and-bust cycles that the community has faced from time-to-time -- so that’s one of the things that we’re looking at," said Korgel. 

When it comes to the community, impact and buy-in are important aspects for an investment like this that aims to benefit everyone. 

“Making sure that the community just understands that there’s this technology boom and revolution coming that involves oil and gas, it involves renewables, it involves new technologies, and kind of embracing that and understanding what the future looks like, which is pretty exciting," said Korgel. 

Korgel said that education is another important aspect of this investment that looks at workforce development with training and skills that will be needed for new jobs created. He also mentioned making sure that the Permian Basin is at the forefront and really acting as a global leader for energy security, stability and production. 

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