2017-08-09 / Front Page

Pipelines add to tax base

BY ALLEN ESSEX
Reporter

A PIPELINE EREW uses heavy machinery and trucks to put down gas pipeline near FM 498 east of Lyford.A PIPELINE EREW uses heavy machinery and trucks to put down gas pipeline near FM 498 east of Lyford.Contractors are working at a furious pace in multiple location as the Valley Crossing Pipeline extends across Willacy County on its way from the Eagle Ford Shale oil fields in Central Texas to Tuxpan, Mexico, while connecting the Port of Brownsville for possible future exports of liquefied natural gas by ship.

Heavy construction work can be seen at the Conley Swofford Ranch north of Raymondville and near Farm-to- Market Road 498 east of Lyford.

While some of the employees working with contractors may be Rio Grande Valley residents, the main long-term benefit to Willacy County will be added revenue from property taxes, Willacy County Judge Aurelio “Keter” Guerra said.

“The Valley pipeline will raise our tax base,” Guerra said. "I have no idea how it will be taxed. We do have pipelines already, some of them are old, coming through Willacy, but none are as big as these will be, Guerra said.


A HUGE PIPE STORAGE YARD near the Treasure Hills neighborhood in Harlingen serves as a staging point for gas pipe brought in through the Port of Harlingen. Other pipe is being delivered through the Port of Brownsville for the 42-inch gas pipeline connecting the Eagle Ford Shale oil field in Central Texas to Tuxpan, Mexico, through the Port of Brownsville. A HUGE PIPE STORAGE YARD near the Treasure Hills neighborhood in Harlingen serves as a staging point for gas pipe brought in through the Port of Harlingen. Other pipe is being delivered through the Port of Brownsville for the 42-inch gas pipeline connecting the Eagle Ford Shale oil field in Central Texas to Tuxpan, Mexico, through the Port of Brownsville. The present project is one 42-inch pipeline and a later project will involve two more 42- inch pipelines that will be located closer to the coast, Guerra said.

Ralph Cowen, a Port of Brownsville commissioner, said the gas lines will go through the Port of Brownsville on their way to Mexico, said there are applications pending with processing the US Environmental Protection Agency to build gas processing facilities at the port to convert natural gas to a liquid so it could be exported to other countries by ship.


A PLATFORM OF RAILROAD ties has to be laid for heavy equipment to lay the gas pipeline to keep heavy machinery from sinking into the soft farmland east of Lyford. A PLATFORM OF RAILROAD ties has to be laid for heavy equipment to lay the gas pipeline to keep heavy machinery from sinking into the soft farmland east of Lyford. Environmental groups and some cities are opposing the proposed liquefied natural gas facilities at the port but meanwhile the pipeline construction will continue on to Tuxpan, Mexico, where it will be used to power an electrical generat- ing station that will supply power to Mexico City where it will replace use of coal-fired electrical generating facilities and reduce pollution there, Cowen said.

If approved, the processing plants at the port would chill natural gas down to 256 degrees below zero and separate the gas into a liquid, as well as products such as propane, benzene and butane, Cowen said. Those products could be sold for various needs. Also, there are numerous natural gas wells along the pipeline route that would then have an economically feasible means of sending gas to market, producing more revenue for the industry which is part of the entire oil-and-gas economy of Texas.

Another possible future use for the gas coming from the Eagle Ford Shale oilfield may be a future steel mill at the Port of Brownsville proposed by an Arkansas company named Big River Steel, Cowen said.

As for Willacy County, having multiple pipelines extending through farmland will benefit farmers who will receive payments for easements as well as county taxpayers benefiting from annual revenue in the tax base to reduce the need for higher tax rates, Guerra said.

Part of the major construction project as the pipeline proceeds through Willacy County is the need to lay railroad ties to support excavating equipment in muddy farm fields.

Also, special equipment will be used to bore under A PLATFORM OF RAILROAD ties has to be laid for heavy equipment to lay the gas pipeline to keep heavy machinery from sinking into the soft farmland east of Lyford.

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