Huge New Shale Oil Field Found in Texas

Monday, 30 May 2011 10:51 AM

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More than a dozen companies plan to drill up to 3,000 wells around the ragged town of Catarina, Texas in the next 12 months. Known as the Eagle Ford, the sprawling site is but one of a score of new onshore oil fields that may pump up the nation’s oil output by 25 percent within the next ten years, according to a New York Times report.

catarina texas iol fieldThe oil from the Eagle Ford and other such fields can be tapped by using the somewhat controversial hydraulic fracturing method. So-called “fracking” utilizes a mix of water, sand and hazardous chemicals under high pressure to bore through the rocks and release the oil trapped within.

Fracking has been in the past a method to get at natural gas lurking in rocky formations underground. With the technology now being used in extracting oil, a concern has risen as to potential contamination of submersed water supplies.

Contamination dangers or not, the risk seems acceptable to most in the oil industry, which touts that fracking in the new fields can ramp up over two million new jobs and enrich cash-strapped states to the tune of tens-of-billions of dollars. Looking to realize the oil windfall are such states as Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Michigan and Kansas.

“It’s the one thing we have seen in our adult lives that could take us away from imported oil,” said Aubrey McClendon, chief executive of Chesapeake Energy. “What if we have found three of the world’s biggest oil fields in the last three years right here in the U.S.? How transformative could that be for the U.S. economy?”

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