Energy is the lifeblood of the Texas economy. Our state has vast natural resources – Texas is the largest oil, gas, and wind producer in the United States and the energy industry employs more than 300,000 people. The University of Texas is recognized as a global leader in energy research; more faculty across the campus are working on energy at UT than any other institution of higher learning. A large number of our students in law, business, engineering, and geoscience pursue careers in the energy sector. To prepare them for their careers, we offer innovative courses that give students the opportunity to learn about energy and environmental issues from multiple perspectives in classes with students and faculty from law, business, geoscience, and engineering. The Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law, and Business was formed to train students to become leaders in the energy sector. It is also committed to producing clear and unbiased analyses of legal, business and policy issues related to energy.
In addition to domestic energy, the KBH Center is focused on exploring the dynamic relationship between the United States and Latin America and preparing UT students to participate in energy developments in the region. Texas shares a 1,200-mile border with Mexico and we have a history of close economic and social integration. Latin America as a whole is undergoing dynamic energy development. Mexico is in the midst of historic constitutional energy reforms that have enabled foreign companies to invest in the country’s energy sector for the first time in 75 years. Shale and offshore oil and gas discoveries in Argentina, Colombia, and Brazil have spurred investment in those countries, as well. The region stands to make important economic gains as a result of these developments, but needs technical training and support to develop the infrastructure, legal and business frameworks for the industry. The KBH Center will serve as a convener of stakeholders and experts to exchange ideas and promote best practices in Latin America.
We have assembled a remarkable group of energy leaders from law and business to lead the KBH Center and I appreciate their willingness to participate and support the center’s work. I am delighted to be part of the university’s commitment to energy leadership and confident that we will achieve our mission to train the next generation of energy leaders.