Eagle Ford Study Shows Significant Increase in Pollution Through 2018

Eagle Ford Satellite Image
Eagle Ford Satellite Image

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 NOx emissions 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.

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.
— EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)

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 NOx , and the second stage is a further but substantial reduction of NOx only emissions.

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

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 about the meeting at fuelfix.com

Lewis Energy is a legacy operator in South Texas who was well positioned with several hundred thousand acres prospective for the Eagle Ford before 2008. The company is now partnered with BP and expects to drill over 2,000 wells in the next 10-15 years. Lewis was very early in testing the Eagle Ford. The company drilled its first well targeting the play in 2002.

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.

Housing shortages, traffic jams and jobs begging for workers are now common in many formerly dead-end towns. Some landowners also are cashing huge lease and royalty checks. Property tax, sales tax and hotel-motel tax revenues are rising, filling counties' coffers.

San Antonio, too, is benefiting. Blue-chip oil field services companies, such as Halliburton Co., Baker Hughes Inc. and Weatherford International, are moving in.

The shale play has brought 5,000 jobs to San Antonio, and likely will bring twice that many within three years.

Read more at mysanantonio.com

South Texas Oilfield Jobs that Pay

Another nod to Eagle Ford Shale Job Growth:

Thankfully, despite the grim news about our floundering economy, Texas is actually not a bad place to be job hunting. It's the top state for creating jobs in the country. San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Dallas are all growing steadily in energy, technology, and education jobs, and San Antonio looks to be the best of all. Credit that in part to the low cost of living (8-10 percent below the national average) and to the fact that San Antonio has a steady flow of college grads coming into the market every year: 35,000 brave souls who chose not to hide out in the ventilation system. The younger demographic allows many companies to fill entry-level positions. Medtronic and Nationwide opened up shop here because of all these eager graduates, and Toyota relocated its Tacoma operation here from California to take advantage of all the high school and college tech graduates. Youth attracts business, and we've got a lot of you.


"That's one of the things that's helped keep us a little more stable than other cities," says Becky Bridges, vice president of communications at the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.

The local chamber just released its economic forecast for job growth, and the biggest increases are being seen in manufacturing, natural resources/mining (credit that South Texas oilfield boom), trade and transportation, government, and leisure.

Read the full news release at sacurrent.com

Search our database of hundreds of job openings at our Eagle Ford Jobs page

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.

The association's 2011 Mid-Year Economic Report found that 58 percent expect the economy to remain flat in the coming year, and 30 percent — more than twice the number counted in a similar survey last December — felt it would fall back into recession.

Texas' and San Antonio's economies have outperformed the nation's during the recession, however, and area business owners have been quick to acknowledge their good fortunes.

Only one of the nine businesses asked to assess their prospects in the coming year was pessimistic, and a second one, Metropolitan Contracting Co., said the coming year should be stable.

But Tim Swan, CEO of Metropolitan, said that's not bad news because his business picked up last October, enough for the contractor to add about 13 employees this year.