Dimmit County Eagle Ford Shale Info
The western part of the Eagle Ford shale play, in counties such as Dimmit and Zavala, has not received as much media attention as the eastern side. Despite this however, Dimmit county is the currently epicenter of a frenzy of oil and gas drilling activity. Carrizo Springs is the county seat and the largest city in Dimmit County, Texas. Carrizo Springs is quickly becoming a regional oilfield hub, as oil and gas service companies open up satellite offices there. There are scores of newly opened oilfield businesses in Carrizo Springs, along with heavy traffic on area roads. A veritable flood of oil and gas royalty income is beginning to pour into the hands of some fortunate owners of large ranches, such as the Briscoe family, as well as benefiting smaller landholders. (The Briscoe family, heirs of the late Governor Dolph Briscoe, own more than 560,000 acres of land in South Texas, much of it in the Eagle Ford shale area.) Oil and gas companies drilling in Dimmit County include Anadarko E&P, Chesapeake Operating, Newfield Exploration, Shell Western E&P, Rosetta Resources, El Paso E&P, Lewis Petro Properties and Murphy Exploration and Production. According to the Texas Railroad Commission, more than 300 new drilling permits have been issued for Dimmit County since the first of 2012. (As of April 22.) There is no sign of oil and gas drilling in Dimmit County letting up anytime soon, since the core “liquids rich” part of the Eagle Ford Shale runs right through the heart of the area. As you can see in the contour map of the Eagle Ford Shale below, the depth of the Eagle Ford runs from just over 4000′ along the Zavala County line, to over 8000′ near the Webb County line.
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Below, the small town of Big Wells is living up to its name as rigs drilling Eagle Ford Shale “gushers” can be seen from almost anywhere in town. The small town was named for large Carrizo – Wilcox water wells, which were used to irrigate crops such as onions and cabbage. Now that same water is in high demand from oil companies, who use it to frac new Eagle Ford Shale wells in Dimmit county. Oilfield businesses in Dimmit County are thriving and creating many new jobs for area residents. Second Photo: The new offices of Flexpipe Systems, a new oilfield business in Big Wells Texas, which specializes in providing water line and pipe to the oil industry.
Money from the oil and gas industry that is flowing into Dimmit County may help to uplift some of the more impoverished areas of the county. Small migrant worker shacks, such as this one in Big Wells Texas, are being bulldozed down to make room for new oilfield businesses, housing and RV parks. This oil boom is not without its problems however. The government of Dimmit County is finding it hard to keep county roads maintained and keep up with the demand for classroom space for children of oilfield workers and other issues. The population of Dimmit County has long hovered around 10,000 people, yet according to some estimates that figure has nearly doubled in the past three years.
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Below, an old longhorn cow near the county line may be wondering if there will be any water left for her after Eagle Ford shale drilling in Dimmit county is done.
In the next image, an oilfield gate guard checks in visitors to a new Eagle Ford shale well location.
Below, a steady stream of traffic flows along State Hwy 85 between Big Wells and Carrizo Springs. On the hill in the far distance is a new oilfield business specializing in saltwater disposal from Eagle Ford Shale wells in Dimmit and Zavala counties.
There will be some reduction in the amount of oil tanker traffic across the Eagle Ford Shale play as new pipelines come online this summer. However, overall oilfield traffic will most likely continue for many years to come as thousands more wells are drilled. Dimmit County consists of 1,334 square miles, or about 853,760 acres. With some oil and gas companies experimenting with well spacing of the small as 40 acres in the Eagle Ford Shale, there will no doubt be thousands more wells drilled in Dimmit and surrounding counties.
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