Drilling boom in Midland County? That's an understatement...

Midland is in the list of top 10 cities nationwide for the lowest unemployment and our suite of economic indicators is nearing record high levels. Here's a graphic that pretty clearly shows why that's the case.

Map showing drilling permits in Midland County

This map show the drilling permits issued for Midland County in just the last six months. Each circle represents a potential oil/gas well.

The small blue dot represents the approximate location of our neighborhood. The placement of the red dot is a bit interesting, as it's the location of our municipal airport, and we expect to see drilling take place there sometime in the next twelve or so months. Even in the heart of the oilpatch, drilling inside city limits is controversial (bringing into perspective the oft-quoted phrase "not in my backyard!"). Yesterday's well blowout in neighboring Martin County won't exactly soothe fears about drilling adjacent to Midland College and residential neighborhoods. 

But, for any number of reasons, such "progress" seems inevitable. It may seem a little hypocritical to accept the good things the current boomlet is bringing, while trying to insulate ourselves against the price it demands. OTOH, it's natural to want to insulate one's family and personal property against the risks of industrial development. I'm just surprised it's taken this long for the opposing forces to finally meet.


The Permian Basin for as long as I can remember has always been lead by a spirit of risk takers and visonaries who understood the pros and the cons of development. We have all supped at the trough of the energy sector whether through direct participation in production or indirectly whose families have benifited from the outflow of those endeavors. My entire life as been a benifactor of those who decided to take the first steps beyond the agrarian model that influence the early development of Midland.

No matter which business sector has found home in Midland, there has always been a small sector of bad actors. The oil industry unfortunately is not immune from the exploits of those who are incompetent,dishonest or with the intent of malice. But like everything in life, we must take into consideration the balance sheet of what prosperity that can be created versus to what extent those ventures will create more harm than good.

Today I peer at a Google Earth map of the surrounding area near Nacogdoches and see a part of West Texas in the relief. Except for the pines,oaks and the dense undergrowth that is East Texas,there are row after row of productive gas and oil well sites that have been punched through the earth which has occured over the past decade. Tax revenues are positive, job opportunities are good, and lives have been positively impacted financially by the boom. Though we are proud of our piney forest and wild life that inhabits within, it seems Nacogdoches County gets it when it comes to understanding the positives of energy exploration.

I hope that Midland is not turning into a community driven by the philosophical bent of NIMBY. (Not In My Back Yard) If the oil sector and the community at large are not able to bridge their differences, it may not be a lack of water or a scarce desert lizard that will eventually turn Midland into a ghost town. However it will be a lack of will, vision and playing it safe that would be the written as the epitaph in the history books.

Leave a comment. It makes us happy, and you can do it anonymously if you wish. We do review all comments before they're published, so it may take awhile before yours shows up. Don't take it personally, unless you're a spammer...then it really IS personal when we block you.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Eric published on October 8, 2011 10:18 AM.

I, Cartographer was the previous entry in this blog.

Ill Feelings is the next entry in this blog.

Archives Index