How Long Will the Eagle Ford Shale Boom Last?

A Texas A&M economist pegs the play's lifespan at 16 years - I'm taking the over
Eagle Ford Shale Impact Map

Eagle Ford Shale County Impact Map from UTSA | Click to Enlarge

A Texas A&M economist met with business leaders to share his projections of how long the Eagle Ford shale boom will last. He expects the play will have a productive lifespan of 16 years. I’d like to see what is behind the 16 year number, but I believe the message was well delivered. This Eagle Ford development isn’t going to fizzle out any time in the near future. The opportunity is too big. Billions of barrels of oil & gas resources mean billions and possibly trillions of dollars in economic development.

The economist speaking at the 2013 Executive Economic Outlook breakfast was simply conveying there is significant opportunity in South Texas. Most real estate developers are being cautious and not making commitments unless they can project a one-year payout. If the play has a lifespan of decades, more permanent developments are needed. South Texas will need every thing from grocery stores to home developments, gas stations and Wal-Marts.

Eagle Ford Shale’s Lifespan

The Eagle Ford is still relatively young, so everyone is wondering if the play will go bust. The answer to that question lies in the future oil price. As long as oil prices hold steady at a level of more than $70, South Texans don’t have much to worry about. The Eagle Ford returns more to operators than almost all plays in the country. Even if oil prices drop, it will still have the same relative position as the investment of choice in North America.

An old industry addage is “The easiest place to find hydrocarbons is where you’ve already found them”. That will likely prove true in South Texas. We’re actually seeing it play out today. Operators have new development plans in several other oil & gas plays including the Austin Chalk, Buda, Escondido, Olmos, and Pearsall Shale formations.

I wouldn’t say never, but I’d place the probability of a bust in South Texas lower than anywhere else in the country.

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R.T. Dukes

R.T. Dukes

Managing Editor at
R.T. is the managing editor of In prior roles, he advised major oil companies on strategy, the macro business environment, and opportunity screening. 2503 Robinhood, Houston, TX, 77005, U.S.A. | Telephone: 832.429.4790


  1. danny n. says:

    Thank you very much for all of. your information Mr RT dukes,I am ready to relcate &ave gone back n. forth from Chicago and Houston, do you think brow.sville Texas will have any boom I like that area ,the beach and cheap home prices .

    • danny n. says:

      Excuse my typos , I meant relocate from Chicago ,I have friends in Houston,bay city,san Antonio and in McAllen. I know Rio Grande valley is even cheaper to live ,I was asking about Brownsville ;texas and its potential

  2. JLChavez says:

    Will Carrizo Springs continue to have EFS play because I am considering expanding my RV park

    • R.T. Dukes R.T. Dukes says:

      I believe there will be Eagle Ford development around Carrizo for many years to come.

  3. Robin Downs says:

    Its hard to find information on the longevity of the boom so I read your article with interest. Can you share a link to your source (the A&M economist) or add your thoughts on how long you think the Eagle Ford area will be producing oil/gas (and wealth)?

    • R.T. Dukes R.T. Dukes says:

      The economist was speaking at an event in San Antonio. I found the quote interesting and developed the story around it.

      At the end of the day, oil booms are almost entirely dependent on oil price.

  4. David N. says:

    Any new information on Chesapeake selling off their leases in La Salle County to Carrizo Oil & Gas. Also, have heard C & L Land Services out of Houston is buy Chesapeake’s leases? Is I would appreciate any information? thanks

  5. This morning I saw a UPI news headline, “Texas oil boom led by shale” out of Austin. The article was about the Eagle Ford play. Until today, I had never heard of the Eagle Ford field. I Googled the term to find out more and surfed on into this informative website. I have a question. If Eagle Ford is known to be the biggest oil & gas field in the world, then why do the Bakkan and Marcellus fields get all of the headlines and news media attention? Do you think energy independence for America is close on the horizon? Thank you.

    • R.T. Dukes RT Dukes says:


      That’s a great observation. I believe it’s likely because the Pennsylvania and North Dakota didn’t have much of an oil & gas industry before. Don’t get me wrong. Both states produced oil and gas, but not near the magnitude of today. The oil boom has driven ND’s unemployment rate to almost ZERO. Oil and gas isn’t new to Texas, so it simply doesn’t get the coverage from the national media outlets that the others do.

  6. cwxford says:

    They are drilling a lot in Walker County and Grimes County, yet they are not included in the map. I know they recently hit a gusher in Walker County. Why aren’t they in the path of Eagle Ford………it’s all around them.

  7. Liz Kreusel says:

    Is Marathon Oil coming to Frio Co. They leased lots of acreage east of Pearsall, but no drill yet. Lots of drilling just 5-10 miles east and south along Hwy 85 and FM 1582.

    • R.T. Dukes RT Dukes says:

      If they’ve leased a significant amount of land there, you’ll see them drill a well eventually. It might not be their focus, but they’ll get around to it at some point.

      P.S. They’re selling some acreage in the Eagle Ford, so there’s a chance the acreage you are referencing could be part of that deal

  8. Any future development in Bay city / Edna and Refugio area ?

  9. rashmikant says:

    Why they are not drilling in jim hogg county eventhough it is in the path of eagle ford ?


    • R.T. Dukes RT Dukes says:

      I don’t have a definitive answer, but you’re approaching the continental shelf and the formation is getting deeper and deeper. If it’s present, it’s likely gas and very deep. High costs for a commodity trading at a low price…..

  10. rich eager says:

    putting a rv park in snyder tx/they say 10 time,s as big as eagleford/what about lubbock,tx.

    • R.T. Dukes RT Dukes says:

      It could be really big, but I’d say the jury is still out…..Remember, the Eagle Ford is the biggest oil & gas development in the world. Even if the Cline Shale is half the size it will be really big.

  11. I am a fluid haul driver(crude oil) we have recently relocated our yard from Gonzalez to Karnes city is that a sign that the Eagle Ford Shale is progressively moving south.

    • R.T. Dukes RT Dukes says:

      Karnes has been a hot area since early on. The play’s development will move toward the coast line as natural gas prices improve. Operators are targeting the liquids-rich portions of the play currently.

  12. Marcus robbins says:

    Do you feel play will move north of Pleasanton near Baker Hughes- Weatherford- and Haliburton office on or near 37 and 1604

    • R.T. Dukes RT Dukes says:

      Industry geologist have never indicated they’re looking at the play that far north. The play gets more shallow and the geological factors needed aren’t there.

  13. Will Lollis says:

    I am currently working as a sand coordinator for a logistics company. I have a bachelors degree in management and I am looking for a challenging position in the oil and gas industry. I have 3+ years in the industry with a CDL, but I dont want to drive a commercial vehicle. Could you give me any ideas or suggestions. Thanks

  14. Why they are not drilling in lee county eventhough it is in the path of eagle ford ?

    • R.T. Dukes RT Dukes says:

      The formation doesn’t have favorable properties everywhere. I don’t know the specifics about Lee County, but I do know there has never been much activity there.

  15. Stephan R. Lampley says:

    Im wondering how this oil is being moved from the “central fairway” to processing. I presume by truck?
    Are there plans for a pipeline since current production and future predictions are so bright?


  16. David Costglow says:

    What is the current situation around DeWitt County . Is the gas extraction proving profitable in that section?

    What is the likelyhood of more wells dug in that area ? The Costlow gas wells #1 and #2 are on our property and I wonder what to expect in the near future as far as more exporation .

    Thanks , Dave.

    • R.T. Dukes RT Dukes says:

      Mr. Costglow. DeWitt County is one of the most active counties for drilling in the area. Visit our Eagle Ford Drilling page to get weekly updates on rig activity in the area.

  17. I heard that Chesapeake Energy has sold all of their oi leases in LaSalle County, Tx.. is this correct?
    My brother and I own the oil rights located on Lot 3 and 1/2, Section No 87, Gardendale Colony Lands
    Subdivision. We leased to Chesapeake Energy in 2012. They told us that they would be drilling there soon but we do not know if drilling has begun or that they possably have sold it.

    We would appreciate any input on this.
    Ethelee Noah McClure

    • kevin stephenson says:

      We have Chesapeake also but I heard carrizo oil and gas has bought a lot of wells from Chesapeake. I will be talking with a Chesapeake rep about a pipe line I will ask him about it.

    • David N. says:


      We also have a lease with Chesapeake which is in the process of being sold. Like you, we were told that they would be drilling on our property. Was you lease acquired by another company and if so, which company as I have heard of Carrizo Oil & Gas and C & L Services, both out Houston. I would appreciate any info. thanks

  18. Stephen says:

    Good article. I am curious though; do you know of any indication operators would look to develop any o&g wells along the coastal bend of corpus south, or out near Zapata? Or is that o. Hold till natural gas comes back up?

    • R.T. Dukes RT Dukes says:

      The Coastal Bend and Zapata have been developed for many years.

      Someone would need to know a lot more about your personal situation before answering what is effectively a “buy or hold” question.

  19. Mahavir Chudasama says:

    RT, I will reach out to you tomorrow. Has any one drilled across the boarder in Mexico?
    It seems that If you extend eagle ford shale southwest, Lots of Maxico should be flush with Oil.

    • R.T. Dukes RT Dukes says:

      PEMEX has drilled a few test wells and they’re considering various options to expand development.

    • WestHouston says:

      PEMEX told the utilities to convert for natural gas in those regions. They did so, but PEMEX did not deliver on that development. Now, they are importing Natural Gas from Texas. Irony!

  20. Dean Hobden says:

    Many thanks for the maps and info a share hold of BHP BILLITON I from Austraila keep up the good
    reporting it good reading.

  21. Jose Cavazos says:

    Is there any strong prospects in the Rio Grande Valley?

    • R.T. Dukes RT Dukes says:

      Mr. Cavazos, Are you asking about oil & gas prospects in the Rio Grande Valley?

  22. MRS. PAT MCINTYRE says:

    In looking @ the above counties mapped out it does not show any area outlying Washington County. Whats the date of the map? Recently in the Houston Chronicle the county layout much different & it did p/u the NE side of the county. Pls. reply if you have an answer.

    Pat McIntyre,Brenham,Texasa

    • R.T. Dukes RT Dukes says:

      The map above is referring to areas where the Eagle Ford has had an economic impact. It is not a geological map. The Eagle Ford extends further into East Texas and is present in Washington County. Wells will need to be drilled before we know if it will be a commercial (money making) play in that area or not.

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