Bakken Oil Shale
The shale oil boom is turning out to be even bigger than anyone predicted.
Recently Money Morning told you about the Bakken oil shale boom. The Eagle Ford shale oil formation in south Texas is nearly as large, and production there is ramping up rapidly.
Eagle Ford is among the largest U.S. shale oil deposits, with recoverable reserves estimated as high as 7 billion to 10 billion barrels.
But Eagle Ford is also "liquids-rich." That means it has a high concentration of oil versus gas -- a major attraction at a time when oil prices are high and natural gas prices are at historic lows.
Many oil companies are eager to get in on the action at Eagle Ford, and expectations are running high.
"We are evaluating a series of projects ... that could literally double our company's earnings over the next few years," Curt Anastasio, CEO of NuStar Energy (NYSE: NS), told Reuters.
Another oil company CEO, Bill Klesse of Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO), thinks Eagle Ford could have an impact even beyond bigger profits.
"It's going to back out sweet crude imports into the United States, and that's going to happen by 2014," Klesse predicted, speaking at Valero's annual meeting earlier this month.
Indeed, the statistics coming out surrounding the Eagle Ford shale oil operations are impressive.
Data from the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates energy in the state, tells an amazing story. Shale oil production increased nearly seven-fold from 2010 to 2011, from an average of just less than 12,000 barrels a day to about 83,400 barrels a day.
And that could explode to 500,000 barrels a day by the end of 2012, Klesse said, with output expected to double to 1 million barrels a day "in the next few years."
Impact of Eagle Ford Shale Oil UnderestimatedEagle Ford has progressed so quickly that a forecast of its economic benefits became outdated almost as soon as it was issued last year.
A study by the Center for Community and Business Research at the University of Texas San Antonio's Institute for Economic Development in early 2011 projected the Eagle Ford formation would directly and indirectly contribute $21.5 billion and 68,000 full-time jobs to the 20-county South Texas region by 2020.
Last week UTSA released a follow-up study.
It found the Eagle Ford contributed $25 billion to the local economy in 2011 -- $3.5 billion more than the 2020 projection.
The new UTSA study says Eagle Ford will pump about $62.3 billion into the local economy by 2021. The job creation number increased to nearly 117,000.
"We view the Eagle Ford activity as an economic opportunity of a lifetime," said Mario Hernandez, president of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation. "The key goal is the increase in investment and jobs. And if the communities will partner with the private companies that are creating these jobs, it can be a win-win for everybody."
Growth that outruns forecasts is good news for investors. Money Morning has sorted through the many choices to zero in on five Eagle Ford shale oil stocks that could do particularly well:
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How to Profit from the Bakken Oil Shale Boom
Did you ever wish you'd been around for the California gold rush of 1849? Or the Texas oil boom of the early 1900s?
Maybe you can't go back in time, but you don't have to.
The Bakken oil shale boom going on in North Dakota right now is just as big-if not bigger.
Just take a look at what's been happening in Williston, ND, the epicenter of the Bakken oil shale boom.
In Williston, it's like the recession never happened.
Unemployment is under 0.8% -- that's right, less than 1%, far below the national average of 8.2%. And the new oil jobs pay well, too. The average oil worker is making more than $90,000 a year.
The flood of jobs has made Williston the fastest-growing small city in the United States.
Consequently, there was no collapse in home prices in Williston. The inrush of new employees to work the Bakken oil shale boom has actually created a housing shortage.
A one-bedroom apartment that went for $500 in 2005 costs at least $2,000 now. Builders literally cannot build homes fast enough.
The rapid population growth from the Bakken oil shale boom has left many people sleeping in cars and tents. Williston just this week was forced to pass an ordinance that makes it illegal to live in a camper within city limits.
And while other states have been cutting services, shedding jobs and raising taxes, North Dakota is building up the state trust fund and reducing property taxes. All that, and still it projects a $1 billion surplus for its two-year budget.
"This boom is just wild and crazy," Williston Mayor Ward Koeser told Governing magazine last year. "It's more than you can fathom."
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