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Eagle Ford Surge: Tens of Thousands of Jobs, Billions in Revenue

Development of oil and natural gas in the Eagle Ford Shale added more than $61 billion in total economic impact during 2012, according to a study by the Center for Community and Business Research in The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Institute for Economic Development.

In addition, the region supported 116,000 full-time jobs for workers in oil and gas, drilling, support operations, pipeline construction, refineries and petrochemicals last year.

UTSA researchers examined the region's 14 main oil and natural gas-producing counties (Atascosa, Bee, DeWitt, Dimmit, Frio, Gonzales, Karnes, La Salle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Webb, Wilson and Zavala) and the six surrounding counties that serve as staging areas for the oil and gas play. The latter include Bexar and Uvalde as well as Victoria, Jim Wells, Nueces and San Patricio counties. These supporting counties have seen significant employment growth. For example, Bexar County jobs supported by the Eagle Ford now exceed 20,000, up from fewer than 5,000 in 2011, according to the study.

"For the 14 producing counties, the 2012 economic impact [of Eagle Ford activity] was estimated to be over $46 billion, supporting 86,000 jobs," the report said. "Looking ahead to 2022, the 14-county area is expected to generate approximately $62 billion in economic impact and support over 89,000 jobs. In the 20-county area, the economic impact in 2022 is projected to be over $89 billion, supporting 127,000 jobs."

The study reflects a major surge in Eagle Ford related activity in 2012 as previously announced investments came online for production, regional headquarter operations, pipelines, rail, supply, services, housing and logistics infrastructure. Early movers continue to consolidate their positions for the long term, notably along the Gulf Coast with new refining and manufacturing investments. The versatility of Eagle Ford was also demonstrated in response to commodity prices, with significant shifts from natural gas to oil while maintaining high output growth, researchers found.

Fiscal impacts to the state of Texas are significant, the report said. The Eagle Ford added more than $2 billion in state and local revenue to government coffers in 2012. The continued robust activity in the Eagle Ford stems in large measure from the play's ability to produce not only natural gas, but also oil and condensate.

"In 2008, we saw very little activity in the Eagle Ford Shale. Today, it has become one of the most significant oil and gas plays in the country and has generated a tremendous amount of wealth for Texas," said Thomas Tunstall, director of the UTSA Center for Business and Community Research, and the study's principal investigator. "Over the next 10 years, the annual revenue generated and jobs created will continue the steady progress upward, helping to ensure environmental and economic goals can be realized together. The goal is to create sustainable growth for the region."

A quick study of Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) data reveals the gradual migration of the Eagle Ford Shale from a gas-centric play in 2008 to a crude-dominant play in 2012 as commodity economics changed. According to NGI's Shale Daily calculations of RRC data, nearly 79% of the Eagle Ford's production in 2008 was natural gas, while crude production accounted for 21%. Fast forward to 2012 when natural gas production accounted for 27% of the play's output and crude production made up nearly 61%, with the production of condensates chipping in the remaining 12%.

The UTSA study concluded that shale development:

The Center for Community and Business Research in the UTSA Institute for Economic Development conducts primary research on community and business development in South Texas and the border region. In addition to the latest study, the Center has published "Economic Impact of the Eagle Ford Shale" (May 2012), "Strategic Housing Analysis" (July 2012, in partnership with the UTSA College of Architecture and UTSA Center for Urban and Regional Planning Research), "Eagle Ford Shale Impact for Counties with Active Drilling" (October 2012) and its "Workforce Analysis for the Eagle Ford Shale" (October 2012).

"The research conducted at UTSA provides us with valuable information, findings and recommendations related to the Eagle Ford Shale and its impact on Texas' economy," said state Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo). "This research is a wonderful resource, not only for state policymakers and business leaders, but also for all stakeholders who are working to create sustainable communities throughout the shale region."

The study will be available online beginning at about noon Thursday at http://bit.ly/11anGAU.

ISSN © 2577-9877 | ISSN © 2158-8023
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