Texas may have once been considered an agricultural backwater but all that changed once that first oilfield started spilling black gold. It all started with that first field, Spindletop in Beaumont, who could have predicted how much things would change for Texans. There are two things deeply entrenched in the culture of Texas, the fierce and proud independence of the people and the importance of oil and gas that helped build Texas into what it is today. It’s all about oil, gas and the Texas way of life.
Oil and the Economy
The consistent demand for oil and now with the emergence of natural gas as another cash cow has proved to be a boon to the state government. It has allowed them to stave off recession and earn millions in tax revenue. When financial collapse has happened to the rest of the country, Texas proved to be one of the last states affected by economic downturn and one of the first states in recovery. In keeping the independent Texas spirit they keep and maintain their own electrical grid. This keeps them insulated from the fickle nature of federal politics.
Oil and Education
Look around any town in Texas and you can’t help but notice the influence and contributions of the oil industry. You can credit the wells from Big Lake Field for the wealth that the University of Texas holds. Public schools have also benefitted, there is a permanent fund to help struggling school districts educate the children of Texas.
Oil and Culture
Education wasn’t the only sector that reaped the benefits of the oil and gas industry. There are have been strides in medicine, culture, arts and engineering that owe their success to big oil. Museums, theaters and libraries were all built and funded both indirectly and directly with money from the oil and gas industry. While it may seem contradictory but the Welder Wildlife Refuge gives grants to students studying and managing wildlife is funded from oil and gas.
There are people claiming that Texas is suffering from an oil glut but speculators would disagree with that assessment. There is still big money keeping an eye on the state and looking for areas to drill. There are still counties in Texas that haven’t been drilled on with potentially huge oil reserves. There is one company that is watching more than 80 counties for just that reason. The history of Texas is filled with self made billionaires and it will continue making them. The oil and gas industry hasn’t reached its potential in Texas just yet.