The Eagle Ford Shale project is expected to be the world’s largest natural gas exploration project in the next three years, so Frio County Commissioners are working toward a master plan for economic development needed by the community.
Dr. Tom Tunstall, with the Institute for Economic Development at UTSA, is working with Frio County. He said Frio County is looking at all of the impacts of the fracking boom on its supply chains, such as food and housing, as well as schools, roads, power systems, and other infrastructure.
Tunstall explained that the rapid growth in the rural area necessitates that the county leadership prioritize its long-term needs at the same time they are managing the Eagle Ford’s current impact.
"There's so much happening, and it was so unexpected. That's the thing, that it just ramped up so quickly. Last year there were -- like 2009 to 2010 -- very little activity, to 1600 completed wells in the Eagle Ford area last year and they'll probably complete about 2500 this year," Tunstall said.
Frio County Commissioners say Eagle Ford is a “once in a lifetime economic opportunity to redesign the region.”
They plan to develop partnerships with the energy companies and seek policy changes through the legislature to help them shape the community's future. The Eagle Ford’s capital investment is expected to reach $100 billion by 2016.