FILE - Texas Oil

This July 29, 2020 photo shows an oil rig in Midland, Texas. 

(The Center Square) – Texas upstream jobs grew by 5,100 in February, the highest spike in over a decade and the second highest jump in at least 32 years. The last time this many jobs were added in the industry was in June 2011.

"A year ago, many people were questioning the future of oil and natural gas and, today, people are questioning if they have a future without it. Our nation has an opportunity to reshape American energy policy that recognizes oil and natural gas as an asset rather than a liability,” Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, said. “News of this historic job growth in Texas’ upstream sector is encouraging for all Americans, because Texas continues to lead the way in meeting our energy needs, fortifying our national security, and assuring continued environmental progress."

Since the low point in employment in September 2020, the industry has added 24,900 upstream jobs. Job growth months have also outnumbered decline months by 15 to 2.

The total of 181,900 upstream jobs in February represents a 12.8% job increase from February 2021.

The upstream sector includes oil and natural gas extraction and some mining. It excludes the industry sectors of refining, petrochemicals, fuels wholesaling, oilfield equipment manufacturing, pipelines, and gas utilities, which support hundreds of thousands of additional jobs in Texas.

The additional 20,700 jobs compared to last February, the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO) noted, includes an increase of 1,900 positions in oil and natural gas extraction and 18,800 jobs in the services sectors.

Strong job posting data for upstream, midstream and downstream sectors is in line with rising employment, and shows a strong demand for talent in the Texas oil and natural gas industry, TIPRO added.

“Rising global energy demand and strains on oil and natural gas supply exacerbated by geopolitical conflicts necessitate the urgent need for increased domestic production,” TIPRO president Ed Longanecker said. “Though the U.S. energy sector is not immune to supply chain challenges and workforce shortages presented by both COVID-19 and the unfolding conflict in Eastern Europe, Texas oil and natural gas operators stand ready to support growing energy demand here and around the world.”

“To successfully meet this demand both today and tomorrow, we must encourage long-term investments in domestic production,” he said. “This includes taking immediate action on all U.S. LNG export facility and gas pipeline applications, ending the moratorium on new leases on federal lands and putting a stop to the political rhetoric against our industry, including the inaccurate and irresponsible notion that the oil and natural gas sector is taking advantage of the global energy crisis to increase profits. It’s time to work together and develop real strategies to address the energy challenges facing American citizens and our allies abroad.”

There were also 9,985 active unique job postings for the Texas oil and natural gas industry in February, TIPRO said, a 20% increase from January.

Among them, Support Activities for Oil and Gas Operations had the greatest number of unique available jobs of 2,712. Crude Petroleum Extraction had the next highest of 1,239 and Petroleum Refineries of 905.

The leading three cities by total unique oil and natural gas job postings were Houston, Midland and Odessa. The greatest number of available jobs in the industry are in Houston of 3,319, followed by 1,048 available jobs in Midland and 541 jobs available in Odessa.

The top three companies ranked by unique job postings in February were Baker Hughes, National Oilwell Varco, Inc., and Halliburton, TIPRO noted. The most available jobs posted were for heavy tractor-trailer truck drivers, maintenance and repair workers, software developers, software quality assurance analysts and testers.

The Texas oil and gas industry produces the most crude and natural gas in the United States. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. surpassed Saudi Arabia in producing the most crude oil in the world. The three largest crude oil producers in the world are the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Russia.

The Texas oil and natural gas industry paid a record $15.8 billion in state and local taxes and state royalties in fiscal 2021, funds that directly support Texas schools, teachers, roads, infrastructure and a range of essential services.

The industry’s contribution of $15.8 billion is equivalent to over $43 million paid to the state in taxes every day.

Last year, the industry also paid 20% more in state royalties and production taxes compared to the previous fiscal year, and production taxes exceeded $5 billion for only the third time in Texas history.