Eagle Ford Study Shows Significant Increase in Pollution Through 2018

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Could Rise as Much as 281% over 2012 levels - AACOG
Eagle Ford Satellite Image

Eagle Ford Satellite Image|Click to Enlarge

The Eagle Ford Shale’s economic impact has been felt across the state, particularly in South Texas, but a recent study shows that it may be at a cost to the environment.

In early April 2014, the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG), released data correlating rising Eagle Ford production with an increase in air pollutants.

By 2018, AACOG predicts that unhealthy levels of ozone could have an impact on South Texas as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) rise as much as 281% over 2012 levels. Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) levels are also expected to rise by 2018, but not as drastically. Ground level ozone (i.e. smog) is produced when VOCs and NOx react to sunlight, especially during the summer.

The majority of NOemissions in 2012 were emitted by drilling rigs and well hydraulic pump engines (47%). By 2018, these sources are expected to account for only 9% of these emissions as engines are replaced with models that meet Tier 4 standards*. Compressors and mid-stream sources accounted for 39% of NOx emissions in 2012, but this number is expected to rise through 2018.

According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), “the health effects associated with ozone exposure include respiratory health problems ranging from decreased lung function and aggravated asthma to increased emergency department visits, hospital admissions and premature death. The environmental effects associated with seasonal exposure to ground-level ozone include adverse effects on sensitive vegetation, forests, and ecosystems.”

The report mentioned the San Antonio area, which is the largest city in the Eagle Ford’s wake, has recorded ozone violations since August 2012 in excess of the EPA’s 2008 ozone standard. That puts the region on the brink of a potential non-attainment designation, which could result in federally mandated Clean Air Act sanctions. Beyond the San Antonio area, the study looked at 25-core Eagle Ford counties, including Karnes, Webb, DeWitt and Dimmit Counties. According to the report, all 25 Eagle Ford counties are currently in attainment of all air quality regulatory standards.

Read the full report 

*Tier 4 is comprised of two significant stages for different engine horsepower ratings. The first stage is a significant reduction of particulate matter (PM) and NO, and the second stage is a further but substantial reduction of NOx only emissions.

Eagle Ford Development is a Win for the U.S.

Lewis Energy & BP plan to drill more than 2,000 wells on their acreage alone

Eagle Ford development is a big win for the U.S. Most foreign countries are sitting on opportunity without acting. Al Holcomb of Lewis Energy Group shared his thoughts on the Eagle Ford and U.S. shale development yesterday at the Plaza Club in San Antonio.

In speaking about the Eagle Ford and shale gas in general, Holcomb said:

“This play is huge, South Texas is emerging as one of the hottest oil and gas regions in this country.”

“The rest of the world is still sitting,it’s given us an unbeatable edge. The big winner will be our country. [Read more…]

Eagle Ford Shale Makes San Antonio’s Top Stories – 2011

The Eagle Ford Shale was ranked the second most important story in the San Antonio area in 2011. The number one issue for the area in 2011 was the contentious state budget.

After decades in the doldrums, the South Texas economy is being stoked by drilling in the Eagle Ford Shale, one of the hottest oil and gas plays in the country.

Drilling permits in the region jumped from 26 in 2008 to 3,131 by early December, according to Texas Railroad Commission data. [Read more…]

South Texas Oilfield Jobs that Pay

Another nod to Eagle Ford Shale Job Growth: [Read more…]

San Antonio Businesses Have Eagle Ford Optimism

Eagle Ford Shale jobs have posted major gains over the past year and optimism in the economy is spreading throughout San Antonio. Even with the obstacles the U.S. faces as a country, South Texas is poised for growth.  Only one in nine businesses in a recent survey expects business to slow in the coming year and only one expects the economy to stay flat. The rest are expecting higher demand for products and services.

An interesting note from the story is that the one company that expects the economy to stay flat hired 13 employees in the past year! If that is a sign of things to come, South Texas might benefit from the Eagle Ford Shale Oil boom for many years to come. [Read more…]

Eagle Ford Shale Fracking on Task Force Agenda

The Eagle Ford Shale Task Force was announced and met for the first time this past week. High on the list of priorities will be setting best practices for Hydraulic Fracturing across the play.

Drilling problems in other states have created a stir around the topic of fracking, which means the task force will help inform the public around the subject and alleviate any misinformation that is reported. [Read more…]

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