SAN ANTONIO — The production of oil and natural gas in the Eagle Ford Shale generated more than $87 billion in total economic output for the state last year, according to a study released by The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Institute for Economic Development. UTSA researchers also concluded that shale activity supported almost 155,000 full-time equivalent jobs and provided more than $4.4 billion to local and state governments in 2013.
UTSA projects that by 2023 the region will support more than 196,000 jobs and generate more than $137 billion for Texas. These new numbers exceed what was projected in previous studies due to the attraction of new manufacturing projects associated with natural gas and additional processing, refining and port facilities. The economic output of the region is forecast to continue solid growth long-term, considering current trends of stable energy prices and industry innovation.
The study, UTSA’s fourth, examined the economic impact of the Eagle Ford Shale on the 21 counties directly and indirectly involved in production. The 15 core counties where activity is most prevalent are Atascosa, Bee, DeWitt, Dimmit, Frio, Gonzales, Karnes, La Salle, Lavaca, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Webb, Wilson and Zavala. The six neighboring counties where significant activity not including extraction is occurring are Bexar, Jim Wells, Nueces, San Patricio, Uvalde and Victoria.
To date, oil and condensate production in the Eagle Ford Shale has grown from 581 barrels per day in 2008 to more than 1.5 million barrels per day as of August 2014, continuing to exceed expectations and attracting more capital investments than any shale field in the United States. That economic growth is making community sustainability a more achievable goal.
“The immense economic development is providing the wherewithal to address needs that are important to both industry and communities,” said Robert McKinley, UTSA associate vice president of economic development. “Investments in infrastructure – roads, water, wastewater, education, medical facilities and other things – are the key foundational components needed to ensure the long-term viability of many rural communities in the region.
“The ongoing activity presents South Texas community leaders with a rare opportunity to ensure the long-term viability of their cities, towns and counties,” said Thomas Tunstall, research director of the UTSA Institute for Economic Development.
The UTSA Institute for Economic Development is dedicated to creating jobs, growing businesses and fostering economic development. Its 12 centers and programs provide professional business advising, technical training, research and strategic planning to entrepreneurs, business owners and community leaders.
The Eagle Ford Shale Community Development Program at the UTSA Institute for Economic Development is working with communities to promote sustainable economic progress through an innovative and strategic approach. Likewise, it maintains a network of 10 field centers and two specialty centers to provide advising services and business training. The Small Business Development Center network stretches across South Texas and includes all of the counties impacted by the Eagle Ford Shale, as well as many in West Texas.
“With the enormous growth in our energy sectors, in particular the Eagle Ford Shale play, comes a multitude of challenging opportunities,” said state Senator Carlos Uresti. “State policy makers, business leaders and other stakeholders rely on the best research available from our higher education community, such as UTSA, in order to tackle these challenges and ensure our state takes full advantage of this vital opportunity.”
UTSA is conducting additional projects to support stakeholders in the Eagle Ford region. Notably, the Center for Urban and Regional Planning in the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning regularly consults with communities across South Texas on planning, design, environmental, housing and development issues. Likewise, the UTSA College of Public Policy and Institute for Economic Development are collaborating to develop and strengthen municipal governments in the Eagle Ford Shale and West Texas regions.
To date, the UTSA Institute for Economic Development has published Economic Impact of Oil and Gas Activities in the West Texas Energy Consortium Region (December 2013), Economic Impact of the Eagle Ford Shale (March 2013), Eagle Ford Shale Economic Impact and Workforce Analysis (October 2012) and other studies.
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