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Shale oil production in South Texas: Tom Tunstall at TEDxSanAntonio 2013

The Eagle Ford Shale is transforming the economic landscape in South Texas, as are other shale oil fields in the United States. The UTSA Institute for Economic Development has developed a series of studies for the South Texas area that indicate the Eagle Ford is supporting $61 billion in economic activity and over 100,000 jobs.

These newly tapped shale oil and gas fields are transforming the balance of trade, as well as making the U.S. less dependent on energy imports. There are geopolitical implications for the prospect of the U.S. importing significantly less oil in the future, as well as the use of natural gas in new ways.

The shale activity is also transforming lives and communities in South Texas. However, long term community sustainability is not guaranteed. Community leaders must engage in longer term strategy planning, undertake regional approaches, establish a skilled local workforce, nurture strong institutional management, and exercise fiscal discipline. If South Texas communities do these things, the region will have gone a long way toward ensuring that economic development — which includes job growth, quality of life, and environmental stewardship — will be sustainable for communities across South Texas well into the 21st century and beyond.

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