Some Eagle Ford Towns Thriving

Low oil prices and decreased production are not defining some Eagle Ford communities.

Related: UTSA: Eagle Ford Counties Must Diversify

Small towns and communities in the Eagle Ford Shale region of south Texas came alive with the oil boom of 2008 as populations exploded and new wealth flooded in. But as crude prices plunged throughout 2015, revenue streams to dried up and some Eagle Ford communities have fared better than others

Thomas Tunstall, the research director of the UTSA Institute for Economic Development, says that Eagle Ford towns who are now struggling can’t really blame the decline in oil and gas activity for their current economic woes. Back in 2015, Tunstall’s group released a study advising towns that long term planning and economic diversity were key to their survival.

Tunstall points to towns like Gonzales and Cotulla as great examples of towns who have worked to diversify.

Gonzales has reinvented itself as a tourist destination because it’s the birthplace of the Texas Revolution,” he said. “Cotulla is building sports facilities and working on being designated as a Free Trade Zone to attract truckers.

The UTSA Institute of Economic Development works to help towns develop strategies for growth and diversity. One of the agency’s initiatives is the Eagle Ford Shale Community Development Program, which trains local leaders how to think strategically. The program recently lost funding and is looking for ways to continue to help struggling Eagle Ford communities trying to make the transition to the new economy of lower crude prices.