Eagle Ford conference discusses production, price drop

SAN ANTONIO – The fourth-annual Eagle Ford Consortium Conference began Wednesday at the Grand Hyatt in downtown San Antonio.

One of the topics of discussion was how the counties along the Eagle Ford faired through the drop in oil prices and production.

"Our economy is still strong," said Dimmit Country Judge Frank Ponce. "It did not affect us very much."

"Our leaders made some really good choices at the local level," said Leodoro Martinez Jr., Eagle Ford Consortium chairman.

Dimmit County will be paying off a $30 million debt over the next two years. Ponce said before the oil boom, the county had a $500,000 in its bank account. He said now it has somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million.

Those counties did not go completely unscathed, however. There were layoffs and job losses and people did leave, but as the price of a barrel of oil is coming back, so are the people.

"We want to get to the other side of all the hysteria or the frenzy of the Eagle Ford and adapt it to us and give us a sustainable economy," said Karnes City City Manager Don Tymrak.

While the increase in oil prices is good for the industry and counties' pocketbooks -- not to mention businesses that are making more money and hiring more workers -- there is a double-edge to the sword: The price of gas will goes up.

"When you compare that to the number of jobs it creates, the economic impact," Martinez said,"it's worth it from an economic standpoint."

The conference lasts through Friday.

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