According to oil field service company Baker-Hughes, almost half of all the oil rigs in the United States, and almost 25 percent of rigs worldwide, are in the Eagle Ford Shale region, working on "tight" oil deposits. The exploration explosion has been a boon for local economies, and also reaches statewide in its scope. Unemployment in these areas has dropped to as low as 4 percent in some counties.
The communities of this region have filled up with new oil and gas workers who buy things, and rent living spaces. But at times, the numbers of truck, injuries and renters have overwhelmed the small towns of South Texas.
Lack of state investment in roads, and turning back some of them to gravel, made big headlines last year. A study in 2012 showed that DeWitt County alone needed $400 million just to keep up.
What are these communities experiencing? How will the lack of investment in infrastructure impact the area and further private sector investments? Have things improved?
Jennifer Hiller covers the Eagle Ford Shale developments and region for the San Antonio Express-News (@Jennifer_Hiller)
Thomas Tunstall is the director for the Institute of Economic Development at the University of Texas San Antonio (@EconDevUTSA)
Judge Daryl Fowler is the DeWitt County Judge