Number of Oil & Gas Jobs Continue to Rise in Texas

Pump Jack Image
Pump Jack Image

The Eagle Ford Shale boom is attracting workers in South Texas, and with the price of oil currently hovering around $100 per barrel, growth is expected to continue into the immediate future. In March of 2014, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) said 3,200 oil and gas related jobs were added in January, for a total of 15,800 jobs over the year and an annual growth rate of 5.6%.

With statistics like those, many folks are seeking Eagle Ford jobs to fulfill their dream of a better life, support a family, or simply make a career change, but working in the South Texas oil patch can be challenging. Since the boom began, the landscape of South Texas has changed - housing shortages, overcrowded schools, and increased traffic have become the new reality for many parts of South Texas.

South Texas Housing Options

This isn't the first oil boom the U.S. has ever experienced. As a child, I recall my grandmother telling stories about living in tent cities, as her father worked the rigs across the country during the 1930s. Today, in South Texas, there are a number of lodging options, but where oilfield workers ultimately find a place mostly depends on availability and budget.

As a result of traditional housing shortages, many south Texas oilfield workers have chosen RVs as a temporary form of housing in a slew of South Texas RV parks that have sprung up all across the region in response to the boom. Prices for slips and accommodations can vary from park to park, and generally, prices have either go up or down depending on a park's proximity to a hot area of development in the Eagle Ford. Most oilfield workers see their RVs as a place to get cleaned up, eat, sleep and then get back to work. Since 2009, hundreds of parks all across South Texas have targeted oilfield workers as their primary customer-base.

Concerns for Oilfield Workers

Aside from housing shortages, when school starts again in September, oil patch families can expect overcrowding and possible understaffing in South Texas schools. While some oilfield workers moving to Texas have opted to bring their families with them, others have decided to leave their families at home.

Another concern for workers seeking opportunities in the Eagle Ford Shale are traffic accidents. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 3,430 fatal and serious injury crashes and 236 traffic fatalities were recorded in the Eagle Ford in 2013. The count represents a 7% increase in fatal and serious injury crashes over the previous year for the region.

Pleasanton's Eagle Ford Shale Location Primes it for Growth

Pleasanton TX Map
Pleasanton TX Map

Pleasanton is located near the heart of the Eagle Ford Shale in Atascosa County, just 35 miles south of San Antonio. The city's location provides a strategic hub for many oil & gas companies working the play. Jennifer Hiller published an article over the weekend highlighting development in the area. You can read the full article at

Highlights from the article include:

  • The population sign says 8,622, but utility hookups indicate the population is 11,500+
  • Rentals have gone from $0.60-0.70 per sq ft/month to as high as $1.50 per sq ft/month
  • The city enacted a 180-day moratorium on new RV parks
  • Sales tax revenues were less than $2.1 million in 2010 and have already surpassed $3.5 million this year

Bee County Adds 14 RV Parks in 2011 Alone

RV parks are the craze in South Texas. Man camps, rv parks, and everything else housing related is flourishing in the Eagle Ford. In Bee County, 14 rv parks have been built in 2011 alone. Add those being built outside the county and you can bet more than a couple of dozen rv parks have opened this year across the area. If you're looking for an RV or an RV Park, visit the Eagle Ford Shale MarketPlace. Specifically, the RV Category. If you'll be in South Texas for a while, you can also find hotels and other housing providers at our Eagle Ford Housing page. For the hotels, book your stay through the links and you'll get the Eagle Ford preferred rates. We've negotiated discounts of up to 20% for our audience.

This is up from, well, zero during the past few years.

“This is something new to Bee County,” Fritz said. “These things are popping up like mushrooms because of the people working in the Eagle Ford Shale kingdom.”

The county first began seeing the influx of people at the first of the year when the Eagle Ford drilling kicked into gear.

“The whole problem was the lack of housing in our area,” Fritz said. “Guys were staying all over and driving over here to work in the field.”


Eagle Ford Boasts Billions in Benefits - Stresses Infrastructure

The Eagle Ford Shale is providing billions in benefits to South Texas, but not without stressing South Texas infrastructure.  Eagle Ford drilling has eclipsed 200 rigs and the entire region has 264 rigs working.  That's roughly 14% of all active onshore rigs in the U.S. To put that in perspective, we had less than 20 rigs active in the play two years ago. With 100s of rigs active, billions of dollars are flooding into the region. In one of the most active areas, Karnes County's tax roll has increased from $500 million to $1.3 billion in a few short years.  Alice, TX, a town that isn't actually atop the shale, has far exceeded tax revenue estimates in 2011 and will likely be making improvements around the city without borrowing a dime. Add thousands of Eagle Ford jobs with royalties that are beginning to roll in and you've got an economic boom.

Along with all of the positives, streets weren't built for the amount of traffic running the roads these days. All those vehicles mean more people and people need places to live. Who could have guessed we'd have an Eagle Ford housing problem. There simply aren't enough beds for the number of oilfield employees who have moved to South Texas. 15+ RV parks will open in Bee County, TX, in 2011 alone.  That's hundreds of RV pads to provide temporary relief, and there's no doubt permanent housing will be needed as well.

Heavy trucks are damaging roads, kicking up dust and creating traffic where traffic never existed. Hotels and rental properties are full to bursting; new RV parks are dotting the landscape. "We have a lot of RV parks coming," Karnes County Judge Barbara Shaw said. "We're talking hundreds and hundreds of RV slots."

So instead of spending à la The Beverly Hillbillies on swimming pools and movie stars, much of the new tax money will go to mundane things, such as roadwork. Even school district budgets are evolving with the oil play.

In Yoakum, population 5,441, school superintendent Tom Kelley recently discovered his district will be considered rich when a gas processing plant is completed next year in his area. For the first time, Yoakum will be a "Robin Hood" district that must share its wealth with a poorer school one.

Read a full write up at the

Cuero and Yorktown Have Awakened to an Oil Economy

Cuero has grown from the Turkey Capital into a booming oil town. The town of Cuero welcomed the oil & gas industry and has seen several major oil companies open regional offices in the city. Tax revenues have grown more than 30% year over year and for the first time in many years "bonds" aren't the answer to building needs.

Four years ago, Cuero was a community where everybody knew everybody, most people made their money in ranching or farming, and most of the children left as soon as they could.

Then everything changed. Although turkey production had left years ago, the town was still the county seat of one of the top cattle producers in the state and prospered compared with most small Texas towns. 

Even as industries died, residents tried to make the best of things. Every October wild turkeys race each other down Esplanade Street as a part of the annual Turkeyfest, and the day after the festival ends, Cueroites are hard at work putting together elaborate Christmas light displays for the town's famed "Christmas in the Park."

But, as Eagle Ford Shale became a reality, and slick black crude began gurgling up from below, the town had a new role to play - suddenly, Cuero had power.

Yorktown, while a town of only 2,000, has seen a similar rise in business activity. The city owned RV park has been full for two years and more parks are popping up across the area to provide housing for oil workers. New restaurants are opening and local businesses are growing. The small town is developing an oil & gas industry feel.

"It's a good thing for Yorktown," city administrator Robert Mendez said during a recent meeting of the Friends of the Yorktown Library. "Along with the city council and mayor, we are looking at ways to get our city to prosper. It's a positive outlook."

Read the full article on Cuero Here and the article on Yorktown Here.