The Eagle Ford Task Force (EFTF), appointed by Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter, convened yesterday at Coastal Bend College in Beeville to outline its goals and engage in a productive discussion regarding work force issues related to the development of the Eagle Ford Shale. The 24-member task force established that its main purpose is to serve as a forum for dialogue, so that task force members can bring issues and concerns from their constituents to the table and work toward solutions. The group also agreed to meet monthly and to provide recommendations on the top issues facing the region.
The EFTF also approved an agenda for the rest of the calendar year, prioritizing the region’s most pressing issues. Over the next four months, the task force will discuss the following:
- Water usage as it relates to hydraulic fracturing
- The impact of oil and gas production on community infrastructure
- The need for public education regarding oil and gas production
- Promoting economic development stemming from oil and gas production
“I am pleased to see the task force selecting topics for discussion that are crucial to the success of the development of the Eagle Ford Shale,” said Commissioner Porter. “If we handle this opportunity responsibly, we could be looking at the largest oil field ever discovered in Texas. It is imperative that we get this right, and our task force is on a clear-cut path to do so.”
The EFTF also discussed work force issues currently plaguing the region. Several industry representatives spoke about the need to fill hundreds of jobs this year and the obstacles they are facing in finding qualified applicants. Industry representatives estimated there are approximately 120 jobs connected to each drilling rig. Currently, there are approximately 200 rigs operating in the region. However, employers are often battling failed drug tests and background tests or the lack of commercial drivers licenses (CDL) when trying to fill these jobs.
Representatives from Marathon Oil and Pioneer Resources spoke about successful recruiting tactics specific to the Eagle Ford region, such as recruiting from the military and hosting job fairs versus posting jobs online.
Manual Ugues, Business Services Director, Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend, discussed the many programs his organization is implementing to connect employers with skilled workers in the region. He urged employers to reach out to Workforce Solutions with their needs. To learn more about these programs, please visit: www.workintexas.com.
Glynis Straus, Dean of Institutional Advancement at Coastal Bend College spoke about the consortium of oil and gas classes the college is presently offering. Coastal Bend College has partnered with several organizations to provide world-class field training to students who can currently take courses such as: drilling industry introduction (elementary drilling), corrosion basics, petroleum safety and environmental hazards (H2S Training), technology/technician/management (supervisory skills), focused oil spill response training and CDL/driving safety courses.
“When unemployment in this country is over nine percent, it is great to see South Texas providing an abundance of good-paying, steady jobs. But we need to work to get those jobs filled, and that was the point of the task force discussion,” said Commissioner Porter. “I feel as though we provided some real solutions at the meeting, and I look forward to seeing those efforts implemented.”
David J. Porter was elected to the Texas Railroad Commission on November 2, 2010. A Certified Public Accountant and successful small business owner, Commissioner Porter has worked with oil and gas producers for nearly three decades providing strategic financial advice and tax counsel. He has a long record of pro-business, free market, conservative credentials. Visit www.rrc.state.tx.us for additional RRC information.