Development of oil and natural gas in the Eagle Ford Shale contributed $25 billion in total economic output to the South Texas region last year, according to a study released Wednesday by the Center for Community and Business Research at The University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Economic Development.

“The Eagle Ford Shale has proven to be one of the most important economic engines in the state,” said Thomas Tunstall, director of the center and the study’s principal investigator. “In 2011 alone, the play generated over $25 billion in revenue, supported 47,000 full-time jobs in the area and provided $257 million in local government revenue.”

The research report was released in San Antonio at an event that featured several energy industry and economic development officials. Also launched Wednesday as the new website Texas Natural Gas Now, which is intended to be a source of information for anyone interested in development of the state’s natural gas reserves.

The study used 2011 as the baseline case for information on production, drilling and related activities to help interpret the rapid changes occurring in the region. The study focused specifically on the impacts of 14 producing counties that are of particular interest in the Eagle Ford Shale development area: Atascosa, Bee, DeWitt, Dimmit, Frio, Gonzales, Karnes, La Salle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Webb, Wilson and Zavala. In addition, significant nonproduction activity is occurring in six peripheral counties and is included in the analysis. These counties are Bexar, Jim Wells, Nueces, San Patricio, Uvalde and Victoria.

According to the study, development of shale last year paid $3.1 billion in salaries and benefits to workers; provided more than $12.6 billion in gross regional product; added more than $358 million in state revenues, including $120.4 million in severance taxes; and spurred triple-digit sales tax revenue increases in various local counties.

“We view the Eagle Ford activity as an economic opportunity of a lifetime,” said Mario Hernandez, president of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation. “The key goal is the increase in investment and jobs. And if the communities will partner with the private companies that are creating these jobs, it can be a win-win for everybody.”

In the 14-county area of the Eagle Ford the total economic output impact of the play in 2011 was just under $20 billion. In the region 38,000 full-time jobs were supported; $2.6 billion in salaries and benefits were paid to workers; and $211 million in local government revenues was generated, according to the study.

“The residents and local leadership of South Texas have taken a proactive and collaborative approach to this new economic opportunity, which we hope demonstrates how communities can embrace, invest and manage this new influx of revenues to ensure long-term regional prosperity,” said Leodoro Martinez, executive director for the Middle Rio Grande Development Council and chairman of the Eagle Ford Consortium.