Texas oil and natural gas job growth continues as industry pays record amount in taxes

The Texas oil and natural gas industry continues to lead the U.S. in job growth, production taxes and overall increased production to meet ongoing demand as Biden administration policies have clamped down on production in other areas of the country.

Texas upstream jobs for the first time in August broke the 200,000 total employment mark since March 2020.

The industry added 2,600 jobs in August, bringing total upstream employment to 201,700. August 2022 job growth was an increase of 33,400 jobs, or 19.8%, from August 2021.

The job growth also came after the industry paid $10.83 billion in taxes in FY2022, the highest amount in Texas history.

Since the low point in employment in September 2020, the industry added 44,700 upstream jobs with an average growth of 1,943 jobs per month.

"Upstream employment is growing steadily alongside the world's demand for affordable, reliable energy,” Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association, said. “The Texas oil and natural gas industry continues to play its leadership role in enhancing national and energy security in our nation and for our trade allies around the world.”

The “truly extraordinary” job growth in the Texas oil and natural gas industry, Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO) president Ed Longenecker said, plays a “critical role in strengthening energy security for our country and allies abroad.”

It also comes at a time when oil and natural gas output in Texas is set to reach new records in October. According to the latest U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast, oil production in the Permian Basin, the most prolific shale oil basin in the U.S., will increase by 66,000 barrels per day (bpd) to a record 5.41 million bpd in October. Oil production in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas is also expected to increase 26,000 bpd in October, reaching 1.25 million bpd.

Natural gas production is expected to increase to a record high of 20.74 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in the Permian and to 7.22 bcfd to Eagle Ford in October, according to EIA.

Production in the Permian is in jeopardy, however, the industry and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott argue, in light of an Obama-era policy being resurrected by the Biden administration.

An EPA plan to impose a 2015 methane rule in certain west Texas counties, Abbott argues, is “based on illogical and flawed grounds.” It’s really designed to end fossil fuels, which would have detrimental impacts on Americans struggling with 40-year-high inflation and high gas prices, he argues. It would also drive gas prices higher because, if implemented, it could jeopardize a quarter of the U.S. gasoline supply.

If Texas were its own country, it would be the world’s third largest producer of natural gas and fourth largest producer of oil.

Midland-based Oil and Gas Workers Association board member Richard Welch told The Center Square that oil and gas job creation would be much higher in Texas if the Biden administration wasn’t attempting to clamp down on production in the Permian. While the governor is doing everything he can to support the industry, investment isn’t what it could be to boost even more production and job creation, he says.

“The jobs market in the oil and gas sector could be a lot higher without the constant bombardment from the Biden administration’s weaponized EPA's scrutinization of the industry,” Welch said. “Individual drillers are maxed out on equipment. Independent drillers make up 50% of the current operations in the Permian Basin yet only own 20% of the equipment.

“Major investors may be reluctant to invest more in the Permian due to ESG ratings concerns and unfavorable federal conditions created by the Biden administration and ‘woke’ investment boards,” he added. “Legislative threats related to carbon capture potentially being considered in the Texas legislature also raise concerns.”

According to a TIPRO analysis, strong job posting data for upstream, midstream and downstream sectors continued in August with 11,909 active unique jobs postings.

Among them, Support Activities for Oil and Gas Operations had the most unique job listings in August of 3,115, followed by Crude Petroleum Extraction (1,486), and Petroleum Refineries (1,178), “indicating a continued emphasis on increasing exploration and production activities in the state,” TIPRO says.

The cities with the greatest number of unique oil and natural gas jobs are Houston (4,344), Midland (1,225) and Odessa (549), according to its analysis.

Baker Hughes, KBR and Energy Transfer have the greatest number of unique jobs available. Top occupations include heavy tractor-trailer truck drivers (648), managers (344) and maintenance and repair workers (268).

Among the available jobs, TIPRO notes that 44% require a bachelor’s degree, 34% a high school diploma or GED, and 24% no educational requirements. Top qualifications for many of the jobs include having a Commercial Driver's License, Master of Business Administration and Tanker Endorsement.

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