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Texas oil and gas industry shatters job records in March

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(The Center Square) – The Texas oil and natural gas industry, in the upstream sector alone, shattered jobs records in March.

The upstream sector added 4,500 jobs last month, the greatest number of jobs in a single month since June 2011.

The upstream sector primarily involves oil and natural gas extraction with some support activities for mining. It excludes the hundreds of thousands of jobs in refining, petrochemicals, fuels wholesaling, oilfield equipment manufacturing, pipelines, and gas utilities.

More than 195,500 people were working in Texas’ upstream sector in March, according to the most recent Texas Workforce Commission data.

“March’s historic increase in jobs in the Texas oil and natural gas industry’s upstream sector is a result of this industry’s commitment to ensuring that American energy leadership’s homebase continues to be here in the Lone Star State,” Texas Oil & Gas Association president Todd Staples said. “These job gains mean economic growth for Texas communities and families, energy security for the United States, and much-needed stability for our trading partners around the globe.”

Since the COVID-low point in September 2020, months of increases in upstream oil and natural gas employment outnumbered months of decrease by 33 to 9, the association says. Over that time period, the industry added 39,500 upstream jobs, an average of 940 a month. Texas oil and natural gas jobs pay among the highest wages in the state, with an average salary of over $124,000 in 2023.

“As demand for oil and natural gas expands globally, and geopolitical conflicts escalate, Texas continues to play an outsized role in providing energy to fuel our economy, support our allies and protect our national security,” Ed Longanecker, president of Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO), said.

According to TIPRO’s analysis, there were 11,524 active unique jobs postings in the Texas oil and natural gas industry last month, the most by far in the country. California had the next largest number of unique job postings in the industry of 4,394, followed by New York (2,382), Florida (2,311), Louisiana (1,942) and Pennsylvania (1,751).

More jobs are available, and more people are working in the industry, as production increases. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), oil production in the Permian Basin in west Texas and southeast New Mexico is projected to increase next month by 12,000 barrels per day (bpd) to reach 6.17 million bpd. In the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas, oil output is projected to grow by roughly 5,000 bpd to more than 1.16 million bpd.

While natural gas production nationwide is expected to drop in May due to several factors, the EIA forecasts it will increase to 25.24 bcfd in May, up from the projected 25.1 bcfd in April.

This is after the Texas oil and natural gas industry broke multiple records last year, The Center Square reported. The industry reported the highest ever totals in production, exports, refining outcomes, crude oil supply, and paid the largest tax revenue contribution in state history of more than $26.3 billion last year.

In March, the trend continued. Texas energy producers paid $473 million in oil production taxes, an increase from the previous month and 11% more than what it paid in March 2023. Producers also paid $212 million in natural gas production taxes, exceeding collections from February of this year.

However, Longanecker notes that production is never a guarantee, especially in light of federal policies that have been hostile to the industry. Since January 2021, the Biden administration has implemented more than 200 policies against the industry, The Center Square reported.

“Unfortunately, politically motivated actions targeting domestic oil and natural gas producers at the federal level not only threaten millions of Americans employed by our industry, but the very energy source that fuels our modern society,” Longanecker said. “While these policies might appease environmental activists, the consequences are potentially severe, driving higher costs for consumers, fueling inflation, and ceding America’s energy dominance to rogue states with poor environmental and humanitarian track records. Texas operators remain committed to producing energy in a responsible manner and supporting sound energy policy at all levels of government.”

The Texas oil and natural gas industry breaking records is consistent with Texas breaking job growth records every month.

In March, Texas again surpassed all previous records it broke for having the greatest number of total jobs, the greatest number of Texans working, and the largest labor force in state history, The Center Square reported.

The number of people currently employed in Texas, more than 15.1 million, total more than the individual populations of every U.S. state except for four.