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Texas adds 2,300 oil exploration, production jobs in October

Texas adds 2,300 oil exploration, production jobs in October

 

Oil exploration and production companies in Texas added 2,300 jobs in October, the sixth straight month of gains.

The state has 183,400 drilling and extraction workers, about 17 percent fewer than the 220,300 before the pandemic began in January 2020. Texas has recovered 25,900 — 43 percent — of the 60,000 upstream jobs lost during the pandemic, according to data from the Texas Workforce Commission and analyzed by the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association, an industry trade group.

“Following a tumultuous year for the energy markets in 2020 and the lingering effects of a global pandemic, the law of supply and demand has driven commodity prices higher this year, with a growing consensus around a new, multiyear super cycle for oil and natural gas,” TIPRO President Ed Longanecker said.

Oil companies laid off tens of thousands of workers statewide last year after oil demand and prices plunged amid economic lockdowns and travel restrictions. Oil demand and prices are recovering as vaccines have helped businesses reopen and boost travel.

West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, settled Friday in New York at $76.10 a barrel, down $2.91 from Thursday but up from $48 in January.

Texas oil and gas companies posted 9,503 new job listings in October, an increase of more than 1,200 from September, according to TIPRO. Houston had the most job listings: 3,101; followed by Odessa with 707 and Midland with 697.

Some of the companies with the most job postings include Halliburton with 727, National Oilwell Varco with 604 and Baker Hughes with 593, according to the trade association. Job postings include tractor-trailer drivers, maintenance and repair workers, and industrial engineers.

Oil executives and trade groups expect that their industry will enjoy a multiyear boom as petroleum demand recovers from the pandemic and exceeds supplies after years of under-investment in new wells.

The number of drilling rigs operating in U.S. oil fields this week jumped by seven to 563, according to Baker Hughes, a giant in oil field services. Although drillers have added 253 rigs over the past year, the number of rigs in operation remains far below the peak of almost 1,100 at the end of 2018.

Oil producers so far have held capital spending on new projects at historically low levels, as executives promised investors to focus on paying down debt and raising shareholder returns to woo capital back to the energy sector.

However, oil companies may be itching to come off the sidelines. The first federal oil and gas lease sale under the Biden administration saw the most activity since 2014. More than 30 oil and gas companies paid $191.6 million during the federal auction held Wednesday to lease more than 300 drilling blocks spanning 1.7 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico.

The administration had tried to postpone federal lease auctions to conduct a climate review and as environmental groups pushed to ban drilling on federal lands and waters entirely to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. However, a federal judge in June ordered the Interior Department to continue holding lease sales after a lawsuit by state attorneys general in Texas, Louisiana and 11 other states.

Longanecker said the administration should pursue policies that encourage more domestic oil and gas production, despite growing public and investor concerns about the risks of climate change.

“Increasing global demand for our product and higher commodity prices will continue to drive industry activity and rising employment numbers in Texas,” Longanecker said. “The greatest risk to this positive momentum, and our nation’s energy security, is anti-oil and natural gas policies being pursued in Washington, D.C.”

Read the latest issue of the OGV Energy magazine HERE

 

Published: 22-11-2021

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