From the petroleum fields of West Texas, to the refineries and plastics plants clustered around the Gulf Coast, the petrochemical network of the nation converges on Texas, the home state of the Oil Industry. In ways the industry is like the space program, but it is larger in magnitude. It focuses on inner space: extracting the deepest essence of the Earth, unlocking the carbon from a distant prehistorical past, to use for consumption today, now. From the oil exploration, drilling, and services companies in the “upstream” realm, to the conveyance, storing, refining and processing activities “midstream” and “downstream,” these Texas-based corporations, through their innovations, and the products they collectively bring into being, have shaped the earth, sea, sky, and humanity, forever. Taken together, an inventory of the major petrochemical sites in Texas is a portrait of the reigning territory at the pinnacle of our Age of Oil.
Texas Oil: Landscape of an Industry