“The sheer size of the audience is a testament of the importance of the Eagle Ford,” Executive Vice President and CEO of Marathon Oil Corp. David Roberts Jr. said during his opening keynote speech at the Hart Energy’s 2012 DUG Eagle Ford conference and exhibition on Monday in San Antonio.
The conference attracts hundreds of people from as close to down the street to as far away as Norway, where the presenter Statoil is based.
Roberts explained that the Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas development has been good for South Texas and Texas as a whole.
“The numbers speak for themselves, and they speak loudly,” he said.
He went on to say that there are 2 million oil- and gas-related jobs in the state and cited a University of Texas-San Antonio study claiming there are currently 47,000 jobs in South Texas alone, and that number can be expected to increase to 120,000 by the end of the decade.
Marathon Oil is celebrating its 125th anniversary as a company and has been operating in the Eagle Ford since late 2010.
Marathon has leased 200,000 acres, with much in Karnes County, where a majority of its operations takes place.
“There aren’t many places where a company can invest and see immediate returns,” he said.
The returns Marathon has seen led the company to make an announcement earlier this year that it will only be putting 18 rigs online this year, instead of the originally-planned 20.
“We expect to meet all of our targets with fewer rigs,” he explained as the reason behind the reduction.
He said the company will be producing 120,000 barrels of oil per day by 2016 and will continue to invest approximately $1.6 billion into the play annually until the end of the decade.
He said his company can only continue to move forward by being good neighbors.
Marathon works with several committees and groups such as the Eagle Ford Task Force and Eagle Ford Consortium to find solutions to the challenges that face the industry and communities in which the company operates.
The company doesn’t just work with big groups but individual counties as well.
Roberts said he has been pleased to work with Judge Barbara Shaw of Karnes County on solutions to problems that plague them both.
Some of the greatest problems facing the company involve water and road usage.
Marathon has taken great strides as a company to overcome some of those hurdles.
“We are continuing to minimize our usage of drinking water,” Roberts said.
Less than three percent of the water used for the company’s operations is classified as drinkable water.
He continued that the majority of the water used by Marathon is brackish water.
Additionally, more and more of the product produced by Marathon is not traveling by road.
“Sixty percent of our product is in pipelines,” he said.
That reduces the number of trucks on the roads, and the amount of product in the pipelines is still continuing to grow.
Part of being a good neighbor is transparency, which includes frack disclosures ingredients and promotion of proper regulation.
“We believe it (industry regulations) should be done at the state level, not the federal,” Roberts said.
The reason behind this is that the state is much closer to the actual drilling operations than the federal government.
He also pointed out that Marathon supported the frack disclosure law in the last legislative session and that the company’s information is listed on the fracfocus.org website.
“As a result, anyone in any community where we operate can access this information,” he said.
He ended his speech by pointing out that oil and gas will continue to play a vital and substantial role in the future and that the industry is “ably equipped to overcome the challenges it faces.”