By Bill Pack
San Antonio Express-News
The Eagle Ford Shale should produce oil and gas for at least about 16 years as better technology boosts drilling capabilities, a Texas A&M University economist told San Antonio business leaders Thursday.
Harold Hunt, a research economist with the university’s Real Estate Center, said he felt confident about the production estimate for the booming South Texas shale play based on the number of wells that are being drilled annually there. He said he expected production will cap out at 20,000 wells.
The play could produce for up to about 64 years if technology allows drillers to get more oil and gas from less acreage, Hunt said. In one forecast, about 80,000 wells would be needed to fully produce Eagle Ford leases, which would increase its productive lifetime.
Hunt, one of two economists to address the 2013 Executive Economic Outlook breakfast sponsored by Frost and Ernst & Young, said drilling technology should improve in the Eagle Ford, which differs from shale formations in other parts of the country because it produces both oil and gas rather than just one or the other.
“It’s the most interesting play of all the shale plays,” said Hunt.
Also speaking at the breakfast was Mark Dotzour, the center’s chief economist.
Dotzour discounted fears that Washington would let the economy plunge over the looming fiscal cliff of tax increases and spending cuts. He instead foresees continued growth in the economy that should pick up speed if Congress addresses deficit concerns.
“Americans have credit capacity to buy stuff again, and that, in combination with pent-up demand, should produce positive job growth and not a recession, regardless of who’s president and who’s in Congress,” said Dotzour.
He admitted his optimism is not shared by many business people.