9/18/2014 12:00 AM
Growing oil exploration in the Wolfcamp/Cline geologic formation has positioned Big Lake, Texas at the center of one of the nation’s largest production fields. To assess the growing demands on the region, the Knowledge Engineering, Economic Development unit at Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) in cooperation with Big Lake, reviewed the competitive factors impacting its growth and economic diversification.
“Growing pains are tough to manage”, noted TEEX program director John Adams, “Big Lake has taken proactive public-private efforts to address the short-term needs and long-term opportunities.”
Big Lake, in Reagan County, South of Midland-Odessa, is strategically located at the epicenter of energy production and has evolved into a regional commercial hub. In addition to oil and gas operations, Big Lake has begun regional attraction of a broad cross-sector of service industries to enhance the economic diversification of the local economy.
“Hardly a day passes, without a new inquiry on possible site locations in the community and questions on the local economy,” observed Gloria Baggett, Big Lake Economic Development Director.
Big Lake is a ‘welcoming community’ featuring a very good school district, sustainable water supply for community growth, and local airport and railway access. The community has broken ground on a new hospital facility, the regional airport is being expanded to accommodate larger aircraft, and new hotel construction is underway to provide much needed lodging for the influx of the oil and gas service workforce.
The TEEX competitive assessment highlighted a number of key factors that outline opportunities for the growth of both Big Lake and the Region. In addition to expanded healthcare services, the city has plans to expand the city limits in an effort to attract new multi and single family housing.
As with most areas of high growth, the region is challenged with increased workforce demands and providing available affordable housing. The community’s ongoing plans should mitigate these concerns. The long-term nature of oil and gas production in the surrounding region positions Big Lake to have a significant role in the growth of West Texas into the future.