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The Eagle Ford Shale: Ten Years Later

The Rise, Fall, and Eventual Return of an American Oil Giant

The Eagle Ford Shale began its existence on the planet about 95 million years ago. A shale is defined as a region with soft sedimentary rock that is formed from mud or clay. However, the shale of the Eagle Ford Shale consists of a higher than usual amount of carbon. This means that the region’s shale is very brittle, allowing it to be easily broken up through hydraulic fracturing. The formation extends for 400 miles and is 50 miles wide. When it was discovered, the potential for oil production over this wide area was startling. 

On October 21, 2008 the global petroleum industry was changed when oil was discovered in the region now known as the Eagle Ford Shale. On this day, a discovery well owned and operated by Petrohawk Energy in La Salle County, Texas struck resources and triggered a boom of energy exploration in the area. However, no one was aware of just how prolific the shale would be for energy production.

By 2011, the region had 267 active rigs drilling through the shale. The eagle Ford Shale hit an all-time high in 2014 when there were 276 rigs running across the Eagle Ford Shale. Mass expansion came to an abrupt decline when the rig count decreased to just 86 by 2014. In recent years, the rig count dropped as low as 32.

Ready for the Second Boom

In 2018, fewer workers are staying in Eagle Ford Shale motels, local diners are not crowded, and stores are not doing the business they were just a few years ago. When the area was booming, we reported on the epidemic of accidents being caused due to the increase of large gas trucks on small country roads. Increased production caused an increase in accidents on the roads that connected oilfields to refineries.With a recent rig count between 90 to 100, the Eagle Ford Shale is exhibiting signs of a comeback. This increase has made the area the second-most active drilling location in the United States. Though the roads are quieter than they were then, the Eagle Ford Shale has not finished its time as a hotbed of energy production. In fact, all signs point to another period of bountiful oil and gas production for the region.

A recent report from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has shown that the Eagle Rock Shale is on the brink of another boom. A June report from the USGS revealed that the Eagle Rock Shale has 8.5 billion barrels of oil waiting to be exploited. This means that, as the Permian Basin’s infrastructure struggles to carry production needs, some companies will be sending their rigs to drill for the Eagle Ford Shale’s rich reserves. The Eagle Rock Shale has seen the ups and downs of production—and its time is not up yet. As drilling technology advances, so will mankind's ability to source oil in the Eagle Ford Shale. 

Arnold & Itkin Will be There for the Highs and Lows

As Eagle Ford Shale makes its way back to booming production, the Texas oilfield accident attorneys at Arnold & Itkin hope that companies maintain safety standards for workers across the region’s worksites. If accidents happen, Arnold & Itkin will fight for the employees that suffer because of negligence for their safety. We have won billions of dollars for the men and women who are injured while working in oilfields. We were there for the first boom, and we will be here for the second.