Excitement about the Cline Shale oil play ruled Wednesday in Sweetwater.
This week oil and natural gas industry leaders converged on the Nolan County Coliseum for the first “Shale Show” in Sweetwater.
"It may quite possibly be the biggest oil boom in the history of the world," said Eric Norton, editor of Roseland Publications, which publishes oil directories.
Business professionals from Houston, San Antonio, even as far away as Pennsylvania and North Dakota, said the Cline Shale boom is just around the corner. The Cline Shale rests in a large area on the eastern shelf of the Permian Basin and includes counties such as Howard, Mitchell, Glasscock and Sterling.
Norton was just one of the exhibitors in Sweetwater for the Shale Show. Why was it held in Sweetwater?
"According to the experts there's 30 billion barrels of oil under the ground (in Sweetwater) … that has everybody in the nation extremely excited. There's people locating down here all the way from Pennsylvania," Norton said.
The Cline Shale is a group of oil fields in West Texas and Sweetwater is right on the fringe of it.
"West Texas is like the Saudi Arabia of the United States," Norton said.
For cities like Sweetwater it could mean big business. Norton’s oil directory is proof of that.
“Right now out of the 4,500 that we have in this book about 3,200 to 3,300 of them are already here. The other 1,200 that are listed are on their way,” Norton said.
“We’re actually watching the Cline Shale develop and we think it's going to be a very important market," said Sean Crawford, communication specialist with Remote Communications.
That’s why there were more than 200 exhibits at the Shale Show. If the boom is here, where are all the oil rigs?
"We've been hearing rumors over the past couple years – and I'm sure you have too – that it’s coming. And your guess is probably as good as ours, but the activity is definitely picked up," said Eric Macias, marketing director of Gicon Pumps & Equipment.