Knew this area was heating up, but Saudi?
by Chip Latcham
Feb 20, 2013 | 1701 views | 0 0 comments | 192 192 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The lead story in Sunday’s business section of the San Antonio Express-News fueled rampant optimism in the economic outlook for our state and especially our South Texas region.

Staff writer Vicki Vaughan began by noting that our state is earning the moniker of “Saudi Texas.”

Its booming oil and gas production from shale plays, particularly the Eagle Ford, has analysts tossing around descriptions such as “phenomenal,” “amazing” and “unprecedented” when discussing the numbers.

“Since production began in the Eagle Ford Shale, the state’s oil output has doubled and Texas’ share of domestic oil output has reached all-time record high levels,” she noted.

According to studies, Texas’ oil production has risen by 71 percent in the last two years, and in November, it was almost three times that of North Dakota, the nation’s No. 2 oil-producing state and home of the touted Bakken Shale.

Naturally, the oil boom here has had significant implications – both in terms of jobs/employment and revenue for state and local governments.

Oil field workers are paid high salaries (averaging $112,000 in 2011, more than twice the average of all Texas workers), she noted. Also, severance taxes from oil and gas production are back up as a significant source of revenue.

The five counties cited with the most drilling activity were Karnes, McMullen, DeWitt, La Salle and Dimmit, although Bee, Live Oak and Goliad also are located in the Eagle Ford zone.

The Eagle Ford’s production is expected to last “a couple of decades more,” according to an analyst, although as “technology evolves, the life of the field could extend longer than originally anticipated.”

This encouraging news should motivate city and county officials to do everything in their power to prepare for the region’s growing needs: first and foremost, providing a reliable source of water, along with improved roads, housing, law enforcement, schools, health care and others.

It appears the Eagle Ford is going to be with us for the next 20 to 30 years, or longer, so we’d better take steps now to ensure that Beeville and Bee County are prepared to gain full advantage of this blessing beneath our feet.

And, no, we’re not referring to the sand, sheik.

– Chip Latcham

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