According to a new report by energy industry research firm Wood Mackenzie, the Eagle Ford Shale now ranks as the largest single oil and gas development in the world based on capital expenditures.
New economic numbers released by UTSA’s Institute for Economic Development Thursday, detailing the play’s growth, also revealed extreme growth.
The study estimated that the total economic output of the Eagle Ford Shale for 2012 was $61 billion. A number that doubled from 2011’s result and left even those behind the study impressed.
"When we first saw the numbers we were surprised, but then when we started doing some analysis, we realized there are a lot of pipelines being built,” said Dr. Thomas Tunstall, author of the study and Director of the Institute of Economic Development at UTSA.
Beyond pipelines, growth is everywhere in south Texas, according to the study. For those who benefit economically from the Eagle Ford, the news continues to be nothing but good.
"Our sales tax increased over 8 percent from last year and our unemployment has gone down,” said Raul Perez, economic development coordinator for Maverick County.
"We're excited that the numbers not only keep rising, but the average salary keeps rising,” said Leodoro Martinez, chairman of the Eagle Ford Consortium.
Last year saw $4.69 billion in salaries and benefits were paid out to workers.
Jobs were readily available too in 2012, with a total of 116,508 jobs for the 20-county area the study used.
The study also revealed some astounding numbers regarding job growth in Bexar County.
In 2011, there were around 4,200 Eagle Ford-related jobs in the county. That number rose to over 20,000 last year.
As for how the shale is being used, the study showed that oil has become the main source of revenue courtesy of high oil prices.
"Actually, oil production tripled, or almost tripled in the Eagle Ford from 2011 to 2012,” said Tunstall. “Natural gas and condensate products have flattened out. I don’t think anybody expected natural gas prices to get as low as $2 per thousand cubic feet.”
Despite the massive gains in 2012, has the plateau of rapid growth been reached?
"I don't know if we're there yet, I think we've probably got another year to go,” said Tunstall.
Meanwhile, South Texas cities will continue to battle with issues like infrastructure and zoning as populations in the area grow at rapid rates.