"BEEVILLE, Texas -- The county clerk's office in this South Texas town was abuzz last year as natural-gas prospectors pored over property records, searching for the next place to sink a well.
But things are much quieter now in the domed courthouse in the town square; natural-gas prices have plunged and energy companies have pulled way back on drilling, particularly in older gas fields like those that dot this part of the state.
People across the country who heat their houses with natural gas have benefited from falling gas prices, which have dropped nearly 65% from their high in July 2008 of more than $13 per million British thermal units, to about $4.78 per million BTUs on Friday.
But here in Beeville, about 100 miles southeast of San Antonio, the price drop has made life a little tougher. The unemployment rate has climbed to 10% from 6.9% a year ago; the jobless rate is the highest here since 1993 and is among the highest in this part of the state. Residents say there are fewer cars on county roads and fewer customers at the local movie theater's evening shows.
Things were different last year, when oil and gas companies flocked here to search out energy reserves. That push boosted the local economy, starting with landowners who saw fatter royalty checks and industry workers who found themselves in strong demand. It spread, too, through companies that provide services to the industry and the restaurants and stores where the additional money was spent."
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Beeville, Texas Makes The Wall Street Journal
But, unfortunately, the news is not good. It is all about how the town has been impacted by the recession. The article is Drop in Natural-Gas Prices Deflates South Texas. Here are the first few paragraphs: