Senator Uresti Addresses Eagle Ford Shale Consortium
"Opportunity should be the key word pumping through the brush country of South Texas as oil and gas production keeps rising from the Eagle Ford Shale", Sen. Carlos Uresti said this week.
"Jobs and investment in this area continue to surge, bringing opportunity to individuals and communities across the region," said the legislator who represents all or part of 17 counties across South and West Texas, including parts of both the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale areas.
Uresti was among three state senators on the opening panel of the Eagle Ford Consortium's 3rd Annual Conference in San Antonio on Monday, addressing more than 300 people gathered to discuss how to sustain the communities caught up in the 5-year-old hydrocarbon play.
The senator pointed out that the play's rapid development from just 26 well permits issued by the Railroad Commission in 2008 to more than 5,000 expected this year has brought tremendous progress but also challenges.
He noted that on Friday, Baker Hughes reported there were 123 rigs operating in in his district. That was about 14 percent of all of the 884 rigs at work in Texas, which make up almost half of those operating in the U.S.
With more than 13,000 wells now drilled across the Eagle Ford region, truck traffic has worn out roadways and medical care facilities have been stressed or unavailable, he said. There's been a shortage of housing for the influx of new oil industry employees and the businesses that serve them, raising prices and putting a real strain on residents on fixed incomes and those not benefiting from the oil wealth.
"Those are problems that state and local governments, working in partnership with industry and social agencies, will continue to have to work together to address", Sen. Uresti said. But the Eagle Ford is producing the money and the opportunity to address those issues, he said.
"I authored Senate Bill 1747 last session which brought state funding for the first time in 50 years for county roads impacted by energy development," Uresti said. "But the $225 million set aside for that purpose is not nearly enough."
Uresti told those attending the conference that as stakeholders they need to help put focus on sustaining the growth and creating livable communities as the oil boom matures.
"We've got to show legislators from other parts of the state the huge benefits that the Eagle Ford is bringing to the entire state," he said, noting that in addition to increased sales taxes contributing to state coffers, severance taxes from oil and gas production last year added almost $3.25 billion to the state's Rainy Day Fund.
Daily oil production in Texas is now up to about 3 million barrels a day and could reach 3.4 billion barrels a day by year's end. If Texas were a country, that would make it the third largest producer in the world, behind Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Uresti shared he would continue to work with his colleagues in the Legislature to invest in the areas impacted by the tremendous growth. Doing so will help ensure the boom continues to benefit all of Texas. We must persist in protecting the goose that has been so prolific with laying golden eggs.
Sen. Uresti represents Senate District 19, which covers more than 35,000 square miles and contains all or part of 17 counties, two international ports of entry, ten state parks, 61 school districts, 2700 miles of highways, and more than 23,000 producing oil and gas wells. The district is larger than 12 states and 82 Nations, and contains over half of the Texas-Mexico border.