San Antonio

Why can’t we drill more in Texas to lower gas costs? KSAT Explains

SAN ANTONIO – Gas costs have hit file highs in Texas and across the nation, so it begs the question: “how can we lower prices?”

Some say drilling more right here on American soil may repair the issue, but it surely’s not so simple as constructing an oil rig in a single day and pulling oil out of the bottom.

Illustration displaying the Eagle Ford Shale. (ksat12)

Roughly 10 years in the past, a small city 70 miles south of San Antonio took on a record-setting tempo in the oil business.

Tilden, Texas, was house to an enormous oil increase, which created hundreds of jobs and altered the city’s panorama.

McMullen County Judge James Teal took office in 2011 proper initially of the surge in drilling in the Eagle Ford Shale, which spans 20-thousand sq. miles throughout 26 Texas counties from the Texas-Mexico border by way of counties east of Waco.

From 2010 to 2015, McMullen County noticed its taxable gross sales enhance by 53%, more than double every other county in the Eagle Ford Shale.

“The activity was instant with people from bigger communities traveling to and from, staying in hotels. Every business — everything was completely full,” Teal stated.


Joe’s Food Market was a type of companies that took on a load of latest prospects. The normal retailer has been family-owned for over a century and has the whole lot from a contemporary sandwich to a rest room bowl restore package. Not even all of these years in business may have predicted the times of the Eagle Ford increase.

“We have a hotel now. I never would have thought Tilden, America, would have a hotel. We have a Pilot. I mean, and we have a Valero just across the street from the Pilot. We have two stoplights now,” stated Misty Verastegui, co-owner of Joe’s Food Market.

Sign welcoming visitors to Tilden, Texas. (ksat12)

The further funding from the drilling in the Eagle Ford Shale meant McMullen County may have a 24-hour sheriff’s division for the primary time. The infrastructure was improved inside the city as nicely.

“We’ve been able to pave almost every road in the county. We’re working on a streets and drainage project now,” Teal stated.

During the peak of the increase in McMullen County, they’d 32 oil rigs going. Now, they’re down to three. The county decide stated they’re prepared for a resurgence in this exercise if it occurs. But that’s not a fast answer to these excessive gas costs.


High gas costs are seen in entrance of a medical billboard Wednesday, May 11, 2022, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

“When the price of oil goes up, the price of everything goes up,” stated Anne Bradbury, CEO of the American Exploration and Production Council. “That is something we are all experiencing. We are not just paying more for gas but for everything from milk to orange juice to medications. Even the price of clothes and shoes is higher. Part of the reason is that oil is a huge part of our everyday lives.

“That’s part of the reason why energy inflation is so concerning because we use oil not just in gasoline, but in household goods, in food production. Just really, really across our economy and across our lifestyle. So many things are made from oil,” says Bradbury.

The value hike finger inevitably will get pointed proper at oil corporations.

Frank Macchiarola, senior vp of Policy, Economics, and Regulatory Affairs for the American Petroleum Institute, stated, “Oil is a global commodity that’s priced in global markets. But even at retail, the price that you’re seeing at the pump is a reflection of the typically independent business owner trying to get a return on the cost of purchasing fuel that they’ve made.”


According to the American Petroleum Institute, practically 99% of gas stations are independently owned, though one company could personal a number of stations. The homeowners signal a licensing settlement with the oil corporations to put their identify on the marquee. Like every other business, the station proprietor has to purchase the gas and all the opposite gadgets they promote, similar to sweet and snacks, plus there are labor prices and rather a lot more prices concerned. It’s merely the value of doing business. They recoup a few of these bills by setting a gas value, which creates competitors with the opposite gas station on the opposite nook.

“Prices are driven by market fundamentals and by supply and demand principles and also by the competitive marketplace,” Macchiarola stated.

The oil market is a worldwide one. What occurs to the provision and costs across the globe impacts us right here at house. Those costs are additionally decided weeks or months earlier than the client sees them posted at their native gas station.


“We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy.” – President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden broadcasts a ban on Russian oil imports, toughening the toll on Russia’s financial system in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in the Roosevelt Room on the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

On March 8, 2022, President Joe Biden introduced the United States would ban oil imports from Russia after the nation waged conflict on neighboring Ukraine. After that, we noticed costs begin to shoot up, however that value hike was not as a result of the ban on Russian oil meant a drastically lower U.S. oil provide. The United States was solely importing about 500,000 barrels of Russian oil a day, which is a fraction of what the U.S. consumes per day. The U.S. makes use of round 21,000,000 barrels of oil per day. According to the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, solely about 1% of our refined crude oil comes from Russia.

“It’s the fact that on the global marketplace, Russia was such a large producer of oil, they produced more than 10 million barrels per day. (It’s) the third-largest producer of oil, the first the largest exporter of oil in the world, pre-invasion,” Frank Macchiarola stated.


For instance, a drop in oil provides in Europe, which depends a lot more closely on Russian imports than the U.S., can nonetheless drive up costs for Americans. It all goes again to the oil market being a worldwide market. As of early June 2022, gas costs are averaging above $4 a gallon in each state. This is the primary time in historical past that every one 50 states are above the $4 mark. Prices can leap just a few cents at a time. In San Antonio, they’ve been identified to leap 20 to 30 cents in a single day.

Oil rig getting used in Tilden, Texas. (ksat12)

One proposed resolution is to produce more oil in the United States.

“That’s really the only way you’re really going to bring down the price of crude and, therefore, bring down the price of gasoline,” Bradbury stated.

That means diesel gas as nicely. Bringing these costs down may lower the value of products and providers throughout nearly each business, however drilling more is hardly a simple resolution.

Bradbury says, “it takes many years to explore, develop to get additional permits for rights of way for water, take away capacity for infrastructure that might be needed.”


Back in McMullen County, the vans that haul gear for oil tasks can nonetheless be seen driving in the city, however far lower than they had been 10 years in the past. Judge James Teal stated, “It’s just much different than it was. There’s not the boomtown kind of atmosphere.”

The excellent news is that oil discipline site visitors is selecting up once more. Tiny houses identified to many as “man camps,” locations the place oil discipline employees stayed on the top of the Eagle Ford Shale increase, have been was inns. One is almost full for the primary time in years.

“They’re busy again. So it’s good for local business owners.” – Misty Verastegui, co-owner of joe’s meals market

There are classes realized from the primary time round that folks in McMullen County will maintain in thoughts, ought to a rise in oil discipline exercise carry on trucking.

“Now that we know all the things, you know, we’ve decided who or who we may not get in bed with next time, you know, or what companies or, you know, just little things like that,” says Verastegui.

Not so little are the advantages Judge James Teal says the county nonetheless sees from the Eagle Ford Shale increase all these years later.


“McMullen County’s been able to also save dollars where we can and maximize the dollars that come in through tax revenue and been able to sustain a good fund balance and prepare for the days whenever things aren’t so good,” Teal stated.

Copyright 2022 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

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