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