Boon or burden? UCCS MBA students investigate local impact of oil and gas exploration

Jana Hyde, (719) 255-3755, Tom Hutton, (719) 255-3439, (719) 351-6519,

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — El Paso County stands to benefit from renewed focus on domestic energy production if current exploration determines the county lies over part of the abundant Niobrara oil shale deposit.

But could the disadvantages outweigh the advantages?

That’s what a class of 25 master’s-level business students at UCCS investigated. They will release their findings at a public meeting at 4:45 p.m. May 11 in Dwire Hall 121 on the UCCS campus. The meeting is open to the public. Parking is free.

The comprehensive project researched environmental impact, economic impact, and oil and gas profitability in the county.

“Successful energy exploration and development could create hundreds of well-paying jobs, diversify the tax base, and increase local GDP by as much as 5 percent,” Fred Crowley, senior instructor, College of Business, and associate director of the Southern Colorado Economic Forum, said

Crowley said oil and gas exploration could provide a more than $1 billion boost to the local economy.

“The challenge for us is, how do we capture those jobs and incomes plus the jobs and incomes of the related service industries that don’t even exist here yet?” Crowley said.

The students have invited public and private decision makers to the presentation in the hope that their research will aid in the decision making process as local governments and business organizations grapple with policymaking related to the emergence of this industry.

The UCCS College of Business was established in 1965 and has more than 1,300 undergraduates and 400 MBA and Distance MBA students.  The College of Business and Administration awards the Bachelor of Science in Business and Bachelor of Innovation degrees. The Graduate School of Business Administration awards the Master of Business Administration degree. More than 8,000 alumni of the College of Business live and work around the world.

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. The university offers 36 bachelor’s degrees, 19 master’s and five doctoral degrees. The campus enrolls more than 9,300 students annually.