The Texas Oil Industry Is Booming Again Due To Rising Prices


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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter

The Texas oil industry is beginning to surge again as oil prices rise.

Oil companies poured more than $28 billion into the Permian Basin of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico last year to meet rising crude prices. That’s more than triple what companies invested in the shale formation in 2015.

Major oil companies, like ExxonMobil, invested $6.6 billion to double the amount of land they control in the area. Land rights in the region can retail for more than $63,000 an acre.

The Permian now has nearly as many active oil rigs as the rest of the U.S. combined, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Rig numbers in the Permian have increased from about 150 in July to 220 in November.

“We could easily see an extra 100 rigs out here in the Permian by June,” Josh Clawson, an electrical contractor for oil drilling rigs, told Reuters.

The majority of new oil and natural gas drilling in the U.S. is happening in the Permian or other formations in Texas. The state’s Barnett shale formation alone produced $11.8 billion each year and created more than 107,000 permanent jobs, according to reports from industry groups.

The study found that lower natural gas prices from fracking saved the average Texan $432 in energy and
home heating costs in Texas between 2007 and 2013. A similar report published last May by the EIA. found that cheap oil and natural gas provided by fracking lowered the annual cost of living for the average American by almost $750.

Fracking is the process of using a high-pressure water mixture to release natural gas or oil from rock, unlocking reserves that were previously economically unfeasible to access. The use of this process has triggered an oil and natural gas boom, which allowed the U.S. to pass Russia as the world’s largest producer of both oil and natural gas.

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