* Eagle Ford shale could add $25 billion to economy
* Eagle Ford oil production rose six-fold 2010-2011
By Jim Forsyth
SAN ANTONIO, Texas, May 9 The Eagle Ford shale
oil and natural gas field in south Texas could turn out to be
the largest recoverable oil deposit ever found in the Lower 48
states, according to a study released otn Wednesday.
The liquids-rich Eagle Ford shale, one of the hottest North
American shale fields, could generate $25 billion in economic
development in 2011 and support 47,000 local jobs, according to
the study by the Center for Community and Business Research at
The University of Texas at San Antonio's Institute for Economic
From 2010 to 2011, crude oil production increased more than
six-fold to over 28 million barrels, condensate production
tripled to over 21 million barrels, and natural gas production
doubled, according to the study, which was funded by America's
Natural Gas Alliance, an industry group.
"The total number of recoverable reserves for the Eagle Ford
shale is still unknown, but there are estimates that it could be
as much as 7 to 10 billion barrels," said Thomas Tunstall, lead
author of the study. "That would make it the largest on-shore
oil reserve ever discovered in the Lower 48 states."
The liquids-rich Eagle Ford shale play in Texas is one of
the hottest North American shale fields, as oil prices have
remained strong relative to natural gas prices, which have
slumped to a decade low.
The top three Eagle Ford operators in 2011 (ranked by
completed oil wells) were EOG Resources Inc.,
Cheasapeake Energy Corp. and Burlington Resources, the
The Eagle Ford is the largest in what are referred to as
'hydraulic fracturing' or 'fracking' fields, in which crews
bombard hard shale rock with water and other chemicals to reach
oil reserves which previously were not recoverable. Fracking is
a controversial practice, with several environmental groups
claiming it damages water supplies.
Oil industry executives said wells producing $100,000 a week
in income are not unusual in the Eagle Ford.
"We are evaluating a series of projects in that regard that
could literally double our company's earnings over the next few
years," said Curt Anastasio, the President and CEO of San
Antonio based NuStar Energy.