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Industry Group: Texas Oil Companies To Cut Tens Of Thousands More Jobs In 2016

The state’s crude oil production is only just starting to decline, according to the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. The faster it falls, the fewer workers the industry will need.

Texas crude oil production is finally starting to fall, according to the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. Cutting back on supply should eventually push oil prices back up. But in the meantime, the industry is in for more pain.

In December 2014, the state’s oil and gas industry employed a record 306,330. Since then, upstream companies have laid off more than 60,000.

“Further job loss and fairly significant job loss seems unavoidable to me at this point,” says Karr Ingham, chief petroleum economist for the Alliance, who delivered the group’s annual forecast at the Houston Petroleum Club.

“The last time crude oil prices were where they are right now and the rig count was where it is right now,” Ingham says, “the number of employees on oil and gas company payrolls in Texas was about 115,000 lower than current industry employment levels in Texas. That just suggests to us that the industry at these price levels and activity levels doesn’t need as many employees as it still has on the payrolls.”

The pace of Texas crude oil production slowed over the course of last year. But Ingham estimates the total production for 2015 still reached 1.267 billion barrels, passing the all-time high set in 1972.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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