Study: Eagle Ford Shale has $25 billion impact on South Texas

47,000 jobs were created last year

Author: Justin Horne, Meteorologist/Reporter, jhorne@ksat.com
Published On: May 09 2012 03:51:58 PM CDT   Updated On: May 09 2012 06:34:43 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

A study released by the University of Texas San Antonio on Wednesday showed staggering numbers when it came to the economic impact of the Eagle Ford Shale in 2011.

"They continue to surprise us all,” said Dr. Thomas Tunstall, director of the UTSA Center for Community and Business Research and principal author of the study.

The study found that as a result of the Eagle Ford Shale, the region saw $25 billion in total economic output in 2011.

"The numbers sort of speak for themselves. They’re growing literally in an exponential fashion," said Tunstall.

The study looked at 14 counties associated with the Eagle Ford Shale, along with six adjacent counties, including Bexar.

The study was meant to help South Texas policy makers take advantage of the economic opportunity and plan for the future. Meanwhile, many believed that the future continues to look promising.

"The economics right now of the wells in South Texas looks good, so I suspect that companies will be active in South Texas for generations to come," said Adam Haynes, who represented the Natural Gas Alliance.

According to the study, 47,000 jobs were created just last year, due to the Eagle Ford Shale, and the study projects the creation of 117,000 full-time jobs by 2021.

"It is unlike anything we've seen in decades," said Charlie Moke, with Workforce Solutions Alamo.

Salaries in the industry, said Moke, remained high.

As a result, unemployment is going down and more and more job seekers are making San Antonio and South Texas home.

Local businesses feel impact of boom

Pulling into the parking lot of Jerry B’s restaurant on Highway 181 in Kenedy, you might have to go all the way to the back to find a parking spot. 

These days, the lot is usually full of mostly trucks; oil workers packing the place for lunch and dinner.

"This last year (has been) chaotic but fun," said Lynn Brown, owner of Jerry B’s.

Lynn and her husband opened the restaurant six years ago.

Brown said for the past five and a half years, they have broken even, but the last six months, things have turned. They have seen a 300 percent increase and hope, like oil, is booming.

“I think this next year is going to be awesome, " Brown said.

Brown said her business is the epitome of businesses all along the Eagle Ford Shale deposit zone. Since the oil boom, she has had to hire 15 employees to help with the rush. 

"We thought it would be kind of a small place and fun and it was, and then this happened and it just went crazy, " Brown said.

Brown said they will be expanding -- to a certain extent -- adding a breakfast truck to serve taco and coffee.

"Its a wild ride and I am going to ride it to the very end," Brown said.

Reporters Justin Horne and David Sears contributed to this report.

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