Although one of the hottest areas of the Eagle Ford shale play, the “wet gas and condensate window” only reaches a few miles into Bee county, economically this is a very important area in terms of providing vital resources and services to the oil and gas industry. After many years of experiencing minor oil and gas booms and busts, Beeville Texas is quickly becoming a major oilfield hub for the region. Numerous oilfield service companies have opened new satellite offices in and around Beeville, Pawnee and Pettus, TX. According to the Texas Railroad Commission, there have been less than a dozen permits issued for new Eagle Ford Shale wells in Bee County so far this year, (as of April 22, 2012.) Oil and gas companies with operations in Bee county Texas include Talisman Energy USA, Petrohawk Operating, Pioneer Natural Resources and Burlington Resources Oil and Gas. In addition to oil and gas well permits, there have been permits issued to Complete Vacuum and Rental Inc, Mego Resources LLC and Fields Exploration Inc for saltwater disposal wells in Bee County. As you can see in the map below, the depth of the Eagle Ford shale in Bee County ranges from more than 11,000′ near the Karnes and Live Oak county lines, to over 14,000′ in the lower half of the county.
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Below is a photo of a well just inside the Bee county line, east of Three Rivers, Texas.
Overall the Eagle Ford shale oil and gas discovery is helping to boost the economy of Bee County, yet there are major issues that must be dealt with. One of these issues is that of wear and tear on roads and bridges in county. Recently the Bee County Commissioner’s Court approved a $9,500 fee to be levied against the largest oil and gas companies for each new Eagle Ford Shale well drilled. The purpose of this new fee is to help offset the county’s maintenance expenses for repairing roads and bridges. Although this new fee may help pay for some of the road damage in Bee County being caused by Eagle Ford Shale drilling, it will not pay for all of it. The new road and bridge fee does not address the issue of companies using state and county roads to move equipment across Bee, to wells being drilled in other counties. Below is a photo of trucks hauling frac sand near the Bee County line. Road such as State Highway 72 are beginning to show major signs of wear and tear, as potholes appear faster than TXDOT workers can patch them. With the huge Texas budget deficit, TXDOT has been slow in responding to the critical road situation in South Texas. There has so far been very little in the way of new funds for local Highway Department districts to use for road repair and expansion.
What’s in store for Bee County in terms of the Eagle Ford Shale? As long as oil prices stay high we will see more drilling occurring in the “wet gas and condensate” portion of the county. Most of the Eagle Ford shale in Bee County is situated in the “dry gas window” of the play. Other than to keep leases from expiring on large ranches, there has been very little activity in this portion of the Eagle Ford Shale. This will most likely change as natural gas prices eventually do rise again. Vast amounts of natural gas lie beneath Bee, as well as other counties with a footprint in the “dry gas window.”
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