SAN ANTONIO -

The Eagle Ford Shale oil and natural gas play has reached beyond the area of South Texas it touches underground.

Members of the the Texas Christian University Energy Institute have been studying the impact of the play and made a trip to San Antonio to talk to industry participants about the prospects of the play.

They say there is actually more to South Texas Oil and Natural gas than just the Eagle Ford. The Pearsall play lies beneath the Eagle Ford, plus there are oil fields above the Eagle Ford.

That all adds up to big oil and big money.

"There's going to be $25 billion spent in the eagle ford next year," said Dr. John Breyer, former professor of Geology at TCU.

Thanks to new technology, oil companies are heading back to old wells.

"Like a Phoenix, we thought they were dead but they are all coming back," Breyer said.

While wells are pumping up oil, the price of natural gas has slowed production, but there is still a bright future.

"Wait until you get this thing rolling in the next three to five years. You are going to see a game changer down here, " said Dr. Ken Morgan, Director of the TCU Energy Institute.

The game could really change if oil prices get back to $4-5 a gallon.

Morgan says filling stations are on the horizon, automobiles equipped for natural gas just need to start coming off the assembly line.

In the meantime, enough oil could be produced in the states to make a huge dent in oil the US imports.

"Were spending a billion dollars a day now importing oil we could easily cut that in half and think what that does to the economy, " Breyer said.

For a list of recent stories David Sears has done, click here.