Texas gains 20,000 oil, gas jobs over past year

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - BUSINESS - By David Hunn david.hunn@chron.com twitter.com/david­hunn

Oil com­pa­nies across Texas added about 20,000 jobs over the past year as oil prices sta­bi­lized, drilling rigs re­turned to the pro­lific Per­mian Basin, pro­duc­tion grew and the in­dus­try started to re­cover, ac­cord­ing to an in­dex that tracks en­ergy ac­tiv­ity in the state.

The num­ber of Texas oil and gas jobs rose to al­most 213,000 in July, up 10 per­cent over the same pe­riod last year, ac­cord­ing to the latest Texas Petro In­dex, which tracks the health of the oil in­dus­try.

“Clearly, the in­dus­try is in a state of re­cov­ery right now,” said Karr Ing­ham, an Amar­illo econ­o­mist who com­piles the data for the Texas Al­liance of En­ergy Pro­duc­ers.

The num­ber of drilling rigs in Texas oil fields has more than dou­bled, to 464 last month from 206 in July 2016. Drilling per­mits have jumped by 60 per­cent, up from 630 to more than 1,000 over the year. And oil pro­duc­tion in Texas keeps ris­ing, up al­most 6 per­cent, from 98 mil­lion bar­rels to 104 mil­lion.

It’s the eighth straight monthly in­crease for the Petro In­dex since Novem­ber, which capped a 24-month con­trac­tion as U.S. crude prices dropped from more than $100 a bar­rel in 2014 to $26 last year.

Still, Ing­ham thinks the re­cov­ery may have a hit a wall. U.S. oil prices have hov­ered un­der $50 a bar­rel for months; The Texas rig count peaked at 466 early this month and has since fallen off.

“At some point, those num­bers are go­ing to be­gin to fall,” Ing­ham said.

If there’s one thing that his­tory teaches, he said, it’s the rise and fall of the oil in­dus­try.

“At some point, those num­bers are go­ing to be­gin to fall.” Karr Ing­ham, Texas oil econ­o­mist

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