Consortium shares information on Eagle Ford Shale project

The Eagle Ford Shale project has grown considerable in the last four years and has the potential to increase over the next 10-15 years.

That’s the message delivered to some 50 Crossroads-area government, community, education and health representatives at a recent Eagle Ford Consortium informational meeting held at Victoria College in May.

The Eagle Ford Consortium began two and a half years ago, and Victoria College was represented at the first meeting, said Consortium Chairman Leodoro Martinez. One of the consortium’s primary goals is to develop and foster effective lines of communications with oil and gas industry and local communities. It also coordinates workforce and education efforts to improve employment of dislocated and underemployed workers, according to the group’s website.
 
“We are going through a transformative process; it’s phenomenal,” Martinez said of the oil and gas project in South Texas. “Our communities are going to change forever.”

Martinez said the Eagle Ford Shale project has resulted in a $61 billion impact and has supported 116,000 jobs in a 20-county area.

“The unemployment rate has dropped tremendously but has created an additional problem,” he said. “This year, we have a 3.4 percent unemployment rate, and there are no more workers.”
To solve that problem, workers are transported to drilling sites from San Antonio, Laredo, Eagle Pass and other locations.

“This gives us a challenge and an opportunity, depending on how you look at it,” said Martinez.

Victoria College is among 11 colleges and universities in South Texas working with the consortium to address workforce needs and economies in the region.

“I am honored to have been involved with the consortium since 2010,” said Jennifer Yancey, Victoria College vice president of College Advancement & External Affairs. “This is an amazing group of citizens committed to the success, prosperity and sustainability of the South Texas Region.

Yancey said Victoria College partnered with the other colleges, workforce boards and industry to ensure it is meeting the educational and training needs within the Eagle Ford Shale and other industry affected by the activity.

“We have worked collaboratively to secure resources necessary to develop the curriculum and provide training for the workforce,” she said. “We chose to host the consortium leaders at Victoria College in order to better inform the Victoria community of the opportunities today and in the future.  We look forward to continued partnerships with the consortium and encourage other business, industry and interested community members to join and become engaged.”

The consortium hosted two annual conferences in which several hundred people attended.

“The major challenge is that there are so many topics,” he said of a recent conference. “We had 125 presenters and still didn’t hit all the topics.”


Martinez said one of the major consortium issues deals with infrastructure.

“Roads and safety all become a priority for counties with the shale,” he said.

Chris Ashcraft, with South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable, was thankful for the regional planning and communication “on how we can have a lasting, positive impact on the region.”

Jose Ceballos, with the American Natural Gas Alliance, said many jobs in the region are an indirect result of the Eagle Ford Shale project. In Cotulla, one of the towns affected by the project, the restaurant and hospitality industries will need help as new hotels and eateries are opening there, he said.

Ceballos said many oil companies are planning to continue the Eagle Ford Shale drilling for at least the next 10-15 years.

Martinez invited members of the Crossroads region to join and participate in the consortium’s committees such as Education & Workforce, Community Investment, Infrastructure & Natural Resources, Community & Economic Development, and Industry.

For more information on the consortium, go to EagleFordConsortium.org.

Pictured from left are: Gilbert Gonzales, UTSA Institute for Economic Development; Dr. Tom Butler, Victoria College president; Jennifer Yancey, VC vice president, College Advancement & External Affairs; Chris Ashcraft, South Texas Energy & Economic Roundtable; Leodoro Martinez, Consortium chairman; Jose Ceballos, American Natural Gas Alliance; Betty Sifuentes, Middle Rio Grande Development Council; and Jose Alcala, EFS Consortium Planner.

 

Published: Wednesday, 29 May 2013
 

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