NATO Delegation in Midland

NATO Delegation in Midland

International dignitaries in Permian Basin to study oil and gas industry
Midland -- Midland College was host to a delegation of 28 international dignitaries representing the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Subcommittee on Transatlantic Economic Relations and Subcommittee on Energy and Environmental Security. It was part of a six-day Texas tour looking at economic, energy and environmental issues.

Before arriving in Midland, the group stopped in Austin and San Angelo to hear from national and state officials, as well as the Sierra Club discussing a number of energy related topics including environmental issues and concerns. On Thursday, the delegates got a different perspective as they heard directly from those working in our local energy industry.

They were here to learn about oil and gas production, and the impact it's having on the local and world economy. "The United States is depending less and less all the time on the Persian Gulf for the oil supply," said Leon Benoit, chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, Canadian House of Commons.
On the other hand, Benoit said Europe and the Pacific still depend on OPEC oil from the Persian Gulf. "So it's a big world change in that way," he said. "We're looking at it from a big picture, but we came here to see locally how the industry works here."
One major topic of interest during the discussion was hydraulic fracturing since it's actually illegal in parts of Europe. In Romania, opinions are still divided. "Half of the population believes it is not good and half of the population believes it's the future of our country concerning the oil and gas supply," said Romanian Senator Tudor Barbu.
The senator is here to gather as much information as he can to take back to his country so they can get one step closer to finding common ground.
For most of the delegates, this is their first time in the Permian Basin. For Jan Ellingsen of the Norwegian Parliament, that's not the case.

Ellingsen has been traveling to Midland since 2007 when his son came to the Tall City as a foreign exchange student. He says he's been impressed with the way West Texans do business ever since, and he hopes to take a piece of that back home. "The positive approach. The way of looking for solutions and not focusing on the problem. I think that's what makes you so successful," he said.

Another topic of discussion on Thursday was how Midland College has helped prepare a skilled workforce to meet the growing demands of the industry. Before the assembly wraps up, the group will get to tour one of Chevron's training facilities, a Fasken Oil and Ranch field operation, and the Petroleum Museum.

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