Tribpedia: Energy

Texas' Emptiest County Filling Up with Oil Workers

The smallest county in Texas may not hold that distinction for much longer. Loving County has about 90 people but swells by hundreds each day due to a flood of oil workers. While some complain about the surge in drilling trucks, others see the oil boom as a lifeline from extinction. This video is part of our Shale Life project. 

Counting Heads in the Eagle Ford Shale is No Easy Task

How many people have moved to the Eagle Ford Shale as a result of its energy boom? That’s a tough question to answer. While thousands of people have flocked to the region for new jobs, the transient nature of the work presents a big challenge for local leaders, who struggle to plan for housing, schools, pipelines and roads. This animation is part of our Shale Life project.

Cost of Living Straps West Texans Without Oilfield Jobs

Across West Texas, wages are soaring for oil and gas industry workers — but so is the cost of living. For those who don’t hold top-dollar energy jobs, just paying the rent has gotten tough. In the middle of this multibillion-dollar boom sits Breaking Bread Kitchen, a community center that opens for one hour every night to provide free hot meals to residents who need them. This video is part of our Shale Life project.

A gas well last fracked in March sits less than 400 feet from a home in Denton, which just became Texas' first city to ban fracking.
A gas well last fracked in March sits less than 400 feet from a home in Denton, which just became Texas' first city to ban fracking.

Courts Will Take Up Case of Fracking v. Drilling

Legal wrangling will settle challenges to Denton's newly passed fracking ban, and give Texans a free course on the widely mischaracterized oilfield technique that has put Texas at the forefront a national energy boom.

Oil Boom Presents Challenges for Longtime Crop Dusters

Grant Swartz has spent much of the last decade in the air, as an agriculture pilot dusting crops over rural Glasscock County. That’s been long enough to see the oil and gas boom drastically alter the landscape of his community east of Midland. What was once a simple flight is now an obstacle course peppered with rigs, miles and miles of power lines and crews of oilfield workers on the ground. This video is part of our Shale Life project.

Eagle Ford Traffic Clogs a Lifeline

The Southwest Area Regional Transit District, a 33-year-old organization financed largely through state grants, helps shuttle people who cannot otherwise get to their medical appointments. But a rush to the Eagle Ford Shale — the oil-rich fields that have brought prosperity to many — is clogging that lifeline. This story is part of our Shale Life project.

In Texas Boomtowns, More Traffic Means More Deaths

The newly cracked, chipped and crowded roads linking Texas boomtowns have meant more than just traffic jams for local commuters. They've also proved deadly. Each day, as thousands of 18-wheelers travel roads ill-prepared to handle them, drilling regions are seeing an increase in deadly accidents. This slideshow is part of our Shale Life project.

Emergency Responders Face Shale Boom Challenges

The surge in Texas energy production has brought a new set of hazards to communities facing the bulk of the drilling — including an increase in traffic accidents and chemical spills. That means more work for already understaffed emergency response units across small-town Texas. This video is part of our Shale Life project. 

Life Inside a Man Camp

Visit Custom Touch Village, a workforce lodging facility, or “man camp,” that has popped up to accommodate West Texas' transient oilfield workers. These temporary neighborhoods are common in the regions touched by Texas’ shale boom, where housing is in short supply and hotels are stuffed to the gills. This audio slideshow is part of our Shale Life project. 

Understanding the Shale Boom

The oil and gas industry almost singlehandedly lifted Texas from the country’s last recession. But such booms come with unsettling questions: How long will the bonanza last? And will an eventual drop in oil prices decimate local economies — as has happened throughout Texas’ history? This story is part of our Shale Life project. 


The Shale Life Project

Where there’s oil and natural gas, there’s money to be made and jobs to be found. But the challenges these dramatic booms present for communities across South and West Texas are immense. Use our 15-part multimedia series — the result of more than six months of reporting from the state's most active shale plays — to see how surging energy production is changing lives and fortunes across Texas.