Big Lake enjoys a low cost of living, a respected school district, new healthcare facilities and close proximity to several large secondary markets, most notable San Angelo and the Midland-Odessa MSA, both of which are within 100 miles of Big Lake. The Big Lake economy is and always will be heavily dependent on the oil and gas industry. The oil and gas industry provides stability to the employment base. The market area is poised for accelerated growth, similar to that of the overall Permian Basin region.
In the early 1920’s the focus of the area economy changed from agriculture to petroleum when the Big Lake oilfield started producing. Oil was discovered in Reagan County near Big Lake on May 28, 1923. The rig was named the Santa Rita #1, for The Patron Saint of the Impossible. After producing oil for 67 years, the Santa Rita was plugged and abandoned in 1990. The discovery was the beginning of one of the most prolific oil & gas basins in the world. Today, another oil & gas zone, similar to the Spraberry field, called the Wolfcamp and Cline Shale has emerged as the next oil & gas boom for Texas. Industry experts contend that more than 50 billion barrels of oil could be contained in these shale formations and the producing horizon could be 20 years or longer.