The geological marvel known to Texas oilmen as the Eagle Ford Shale Play is buried deep underground, but at night you can see its outline from space in a twinkling arc that sweeps south of San Antonio toward the Rio Grande.
The light radiates from thousands of surface-level gas flares and drilling rigs. It is the glow of one of the most extravagant oil bonanzas in American history, the result of the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Curving south and west, the lights suddenly go black at Mexico’s border, as if there were nothing on the other side.
This is a reflection of politics, not geology. The Eagle Ford shale formation is believed to continue hundreds of miles into Mexico, where it is known as the Burgos Basin. But while more than 5,400 wells have been sunk on the Texas side since 2008, Mexico has attempted fewer than 25.
There’s the Texas oil boom:
The shale boom is the main reason the United States is challenging Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s top oil producer. Texas pumps more than a third of U.S. output, and on its own the state would rank as the world’s ninth-largest oil producer.
The situation in Mexico gets complicated by the Batial-1 well site being in an area controlled by the Zeta drug cartel. All the more reason for the US to strive for full energy independence.