The unconventional oil and gas boom brought about by new drilling technology is drawing people to shale plays like iron filings to magnets.
New census data show a population surge as the oil boom draws workers and families to oil fields around the country. Some of the nation’s fastest-growing communities include Midland and Odessa in the Permian Basin and three cities near North Dakota’s Bakken Shale field: Williston, Dickinson and Minot. The rapid increase in drilling in the Eagle Ford Shale has spilled into San Antonio.
But like a ranch gate that hides thousands of acres, numbers about population and jobs don’t reveal the details of life during a boom: $200-a-night hotel rooms, traffic, fatal wrecks, help-wanted signs or the dust that coats Johnson at the end of a shift.
Karr Ingham, economist with the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, thinks that the state’s crude oil production climbed to 2.7 million barrels per day by the end of 2013 and will cross the 3-million mark by the end of this year.
A pumpjack rocks back and forth near a sign marking the Martin County line near Stanton, Texas Wednesday April 2, 2014. Oil exploration in the area has raised property values and many other rates much like in the Eagle Ford area.