Natural gas extraction on the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas has developed to the point that the oil field services company Halliburton has decided to build a $50 million operations base in San Antonio.
The Houston-based company announced yesterday that it is looking to hire 1,500 people to staff the center. Annual salaries will average $70,000, the Houston Chronicle reports.
When Halliburton reported its quarterly earnings last month, it announced record breaking profits at its North American operations: more than $1 billion. Much of that was on the back of the booming natural gas industry, which has taken off with technological advances in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” – a practice that allows access to natural gas stored in shale rock 5,000 feet underground.
However, Halliburton warned in its earnings call that growth in natural gas extraction may be leveling off. That may be in part due to plummeting natural gas prices brought about by record high production.
The low prices have energy companies racing to sell natural gas overseas, as National Geographic reports.
[W]ith natural gas selling in China for up to four times as much as the current U.S. spot price of about $4 per thousand cubic feet (mcf), it's no wonder that they are looking to capitalize on the new U.S. abundance by selling the gas overseas.
But for people who live on and around the Eagle Ford Shale, a 400 mile-long center for natural gas drilling that covers 24 counties, the boom continues to reverberate. Last week, we talked to the city manager in Asheron, where sales tax collections have increased almost ten-fold over the past year.
“It’s crazy. It’s crazy,” Asherton city manager Odelia Tijerina told us. “Non stop traffic. There’s a lot more people in town.”
And Halliburton isn’t the only energy company to establish offices in San Antonio, according to the San Antonio Express-News. It reports that Chesapeake Energy Corp. of Oklahoma City and Houston-based EOG Resources Inc., opened offices in the city last year.