Oil, natural gas boom hits small town outside San Antonio

Cotulla doubling in size due to Eagle Ford Shale


Just about 90 miles outside San Antonio, you’ll find Cotulla, Texas. It’s a rural town that's changing at a record rate because of oil and natural gas facilities.

“You see the new construction happening. You see dirt being moved, lots of signs and investment companies, restaurants, new retail, new homes being started (and) it’s all a result of the boom of the Eagle Ford Shale,” said South Texas Energy and Economic Roundtable President Omar Garcia.

Cotulla City Manager Larry Dovalina has watched as his tiny community of 3,000 has doubled.

“The interesting thing that’s going on is you see some of these individuals in their 30s and 40s that are migrating back to the community because of the opportunity to work and the job creation that is here our unemployment is somewhere between 3 or 4 percent and our property values are sky-rocketing,” said Dovalina.

The economic boom has been caused by a process called fracking.

“Hydraulic fracturing is a process where you drill anywhere from 6,000-8,000 feet below the surface, several layers of piping and cement casing are used to protect from any ground water contamination," Garcia said.

The small-town feel is no more and everybody is working to keep up.

“The biggest challenge is that in a city like Laredo or San Antonio, you have a great deal of resources that you’re able to tap as you go through these grow spurts. Here, you come to the one source, a one-stop shop,” said Dovalina.

Dozens of makeshift living communities have sprung up in an effort to keep up with the influx of people. Eighteen hotels are in the works and the airport is expanding to allow bigger planes to land or take off.

It’s a change most welcome. Dovalina says it’s in the town's best interest and that growth will allow for new opportunities

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