Study sheds light on Eagle Ford impact on county

4,200 jobs added in 2011

Author: David Sears, Reporter,
Published On: Dec 11 2012 05:05:20 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 11 2012 05:38:15 PM CST

The San Antonio Economic Development Foundation revealed the results of a study on the impact of the Eagle Ford shale oil play on San Antonio and Bexar County.

"The economic impact of the Eagle Ford in Bexar county has been very substantial," said former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros, who heads the foundation.

According to the study, three points of impact stand out in 2011:

“Our county and our city not only serve the area but benefit from this opportunity as well, " Cisneros said.

The key, he said, is to keep improving on that opportunity. 

The study points out that the city and county need to continue gearing educational curriculum in high schools and colleges towards the oil industry, training more truck drivers and welders, and even preparing lawyers and accountants for the oil industry.

"We can control our own destiny in this community with regard to educating and making sure that our workers are skilled," said current Mayor Julian Castro.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said transportation and infrastructure are also important components to the future. 

Not all oil field and industry workers live in San Antonio, but they visit, and Wolff wants to make sure they can get around. He said he has talked with Union Pacific railroad officials about improving rail transportation for products.

The county is trying to improve infrastructure, and county officials are happy to have helped Halliburton with a water line extension to their complex in South Bexar County. 

Then there are the roads. Wolff has secured $26 million from the Texas Department of Transportation for the area, but he said he is not just concerned about his county, since there are so many others connected by the Eagle Ford shale play.

"I am helping it all, that is why I went to (TxDOT) and kind of told them how we fit in, but the real infrastructure problems are in those (other) counties," Wolff said.

Wolff also said the state legislature will look at additional funds through sales tax of vehicles and that money will go to transportation.

“The state is going to have to step up. We’re going to have to step up and the city is going to have to step up,” Wolff said.

The study also showed what the future of the Eagle Ford could mean to Bexar County and San Antonio.

Estimated impact for 2021:

It all translates to better way of life.

"When we recruit employees to San Antonio or South Texas, they have the base to have the quality of life that is unsurpassed,” said Chip Haas, a spokesman for Chesapeake Energy.