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Section A: General News


Eagle Ford: The promise of Eagle Ford — an analysis




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Special to the Wilson County News
October 24, 2012 | 1,621 views | 5 comments

By Dave Roberts

At a time when much of America is still struggling to put people back to work, generate revenue for local, state, and federal treasuries, and attract large capital investments, the Eagle Ford shale has transformed South Texas into a model of economic growth for the rest of the country.

Amid all the activity and excitement, we find ourselves at a critical moment in time.

Without question, we’re fortunate to be in the midst of an energy supply revolution, due largely to the application of advanced technology and continued innovation in the oil and gas industry. But we also face significant social, environmental, and geopolitical challenges that have accompanied this growth.

If we’re going to deliver on the promise of the Eagle Ford, we must recognize, embrace, and commit ourselves to developing solutions for dealing with these many challenges. Doing so in a vacuum will only spell failure. All stakeholders -- local communities, operators, regulators, and elected officials, to name a few -- must continue to work in a spirit of cooperation if we’re going to further advance this opportunity and realize the full potential and the full benefits of these vast resources. We’ve made significant progress, but there’s still much work to be done.

At Marathon Oil, we’re proud to be part of the Eagle Ford shale equation. This asset is a priority for us, and our investment reflects that -- over the next five years, we plan to spend approximately $1.6 billion annually to responsibly grow our operations and increase production in South Texas.

As an industry, our progress is tied directly to our ability to assure local communities we can deliver energy and economic security simultaneously, and that we’ll be able to do so in a safe and environmentally responsible manner while balancing impacts on infrastructure.

We certainly don’t have all the answers, but we’re working hard to tackle pressing issues such as traffic and road safety, work-force training, and water use. What’s more, we’re addressing these challenges in collaboration with stakeholders who represent all walks of life in the many communities that make up the region.

An excellent example is the ongoing work by Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter and his Eagle Ford Task Force, a forum established by Porter to open lines of communication among a diverse set of stakeholders that includes operators, local government leaders, and the environmental community.

Another notable development is the launch of the South Texas Energy and Economic Roundtable -- better known as STEER -- an industry association formed to serve as a one-stop educational resource and liaison with local officials, residents, the media, and other stakeholders.

Marathon Oil and other operators are helping to promote safe driving through a number of initiatives, and we’re partnering with colleges, school districts, workforce development groups, and recruiters to help both individuals and local businesses adapt to the current job market.

We’re also very conscious about concerns over water use in oil and gas operations, and how that might impact supplies. Marathon Oil is committed to minimizing our use of fresh water and we estimate that less than 3 percent of the water used in our current Eagle Ford operations is categorized as drinking water. We’ve almost significantly reduced the amount of water we’re using in our hydraulic fracturing operations by employing a polymer gel mix -- commonly used in ice cream and other foodstuffs -- to produce a thicker, more viscous fluid.

Clearly, South Texas is experiencing a positive transformation that can manifest itself in many ways -- more and better paying jobs, improved infrastructure that includes better roads, better schools, and other public services. But even beyond these benefits, what’s being created is a spirit of progress that will allow people to build a future for themselves and their families -- a future in which people have the ability to pursue broad opportunities right here at home in Texas.

Dave Roberts is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Marathon Oil Corp.
 

Your Opinions and Comments

 
Beji Amhoudi  
La Vernia  
October 31, 2012 7:30am
 
@PO: Great excuse making for the Sheriff. Are you on his staff? Why couldn't the WC Sheriff passed that call along to DPS eh?

 
local buisnessman  
floresville  
October 29, 2012 9:28pm
 
Same as always ,never there when you need them,but weddings funerals,and ribbon cuttings first one their.

 
P O  
Floresville  
October 29, 2012 8:48pm
 
First off Dickerson you should have called for DPS. They have commercial vehicle enforcement. It appears you're just looking for a reason to slam the Sheriff's office. Try slamming the actual agency responsible.

 
Russell Dickerson  
Floresville, TX  
October 29, 2012 7:33pm
 
I'd like to know if Marathon was behind the 400 ft convoy running down HW97 at 30 miles an hour a week ago Sunday. It was the most poorly planned and executed move I've ever seen with a complete disregard for anyone, ... More ›

 
Garfield Sicard  
Floresville, TX  
October 29, 2012 12:54pm
 
It is great to see a thoughtful article written by an executive from the inside. Dave's article is very honest and bridges the gap between corporate responsibility and stewardship of our resources. I am glad Marathon ... More ›

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