As Nolan, Fisher and the surrounding counties â€” who are part of the Cline Shale â€” continue to prepare for and take part in the development, their hope is to learn from another major oil play in Texas: the Eagleford Shale.
During the quarterly luncheon of the Cline Shale Alliance, recently held at the Sweetwater TSTC (Texas State Technical College) campus, a presentation was given by Dwain Rogers from the Sustainable Energy Research Institute at the University of Texas-San Antonio.
While the Eagleford Shale was first heard about around 2007, it was in 2010 that the economic impact began to be examined. And while initial estimates stated that numbers would total to $21.5 billion by 2020, in the first year alone the total was $25 billion.
Last year alone, an estimated $61 billion resulted from the Eagleford with over 100,000 jobs created in the state's oil industry. Around 20,000 jobs came solely from San Antonio.
In addition, half of the drilling rigs in the United States are from the Eagleford Shale, while almost 25% of rigs worldwide come from the Eagleford.
While an incredible opportunity awaits this area, Rogers stated that the lesson learned from the Eagleford is to have a plan for tomorrow. The number one problem seen from this oil development, however, has been with the roads.
With the increased traffic, road degradation increases at a considerable rate while growth has been cited in traffic accidents. On the other hand, the Eagleford also has its advantages, such as rail traffic.
Housing also poses a concern, which has led to a spike in RV parks. Rogers urged business representatives to consider such measures like an RV park ordinance, like Sweetwater has been working on.
In addition, water usage and recycling has and will be discussed, as various options are up for consideration. And as the oil business offers competitive pay, retention in the current workforce â€” and especially in education â€” has to be addressed.
Also during the meeting, Sweetwater Mayor Greg Wortham looked ahead to the upcoming events of the Cline Shale Alliance. On April 30, a meeting regarding housing issues and options will be held at the Nolan County Coliseum Annex.
Starting in May, the first Cline-Permian bus tour will travel from Abilene, all the way to Odessa and back to Abilene. On May 13, at the Hotel Settles in Big Spring, a forum on energy and transportation issues will take place.
Other workshops and bus tours are slated between May and September, with luncheons set for July in Snyder and in Colorado City during the month of October. To learn more about developing events in real time, visit www.clineshalealliance.com.
This article in the final part in a four-part series which offers a recap of the quarterly Cline Shale Alliance luncheon held in Sweetwater on Friday, April 12.