Upstream oil and natural gas employment in Texas rose by 13.7% year/year in January to a total of 198,100 jobs, according to the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO).

The figure was up by 1,700 jobs versus December 2022, the group said, citing data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The Houston metropolitan area saw a year/year increase of 6,200 jobs to a total of 66,400 direct positions, TIPRO researchers said. The increase included 400 jobs in oil and natural gas extraction, and 5,800 jobs in the services sector.

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Demand for workers remains strong, the group said. It cited 12,478 active unique job postings in the Texas oil and gas industry in January. These included 5,313 new job postings added during the month by companies.

“There continues to be a strong demand for talent in the Texas oil and natural gas industry in line with growing exploration and production activity in the state and rising demand for our product,” said TIPRO’s Ed Longanecker, president. “Our industry is one of the only remaining sectors in the country that provides a pathway for the middle-class to support their families, something we must preserve.

“Policy decisions being made at the state and federal level should not hinder an industry that is critical to our state, country and allies abroad from an economic and energy security perspective.”

The top three cities for total unique oil and natural gas job postings were Houston (4,149), Midland (905) and Odessa (472), the trade group said.

The most sought-after industry jobs in January included heavy tractor-trailer truck drivers with 373 postings, maintenance and repair workers (361) and managers (310), TIPRO said. 

The group also highlighted that the oil and gas industry generated nearly $800 million in tax revenue for Texas in February. Oil producers paid $492 million in production taxes, while natural gas producers paid $305 million, TIPRO said, citing data from the state comptroller’s office. 

The Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA), for its part, highlighted that since the pandemic-induced low point of September 2020, months of increase in Texas upstream oil and gas employment have outnumbered months of decline by 25 to three.

“Industry has added 41,100 Texas upstream jobs, averaging growth of 1,468 jobs a month,” TXOGA researchers said. “These jobs pay among the highest wages in Texas, with employers in oil and natural gas paying an average salary of approximately $115,000 in 2022.”

The Lone Star State produced an all-time record 11.2 Tcf of natural gas last year. The Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale are expected to see production increases of 93 and 74 MMcf/d, respectively, in April versus March, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“Oil and natural gas jobs continue to grow in Texas, a testament to industry’s commitment to producing the irreplaceable products that make modern life possible,” said TXOGA’s Todd Staples, president. “Despite economic headwinds, the oil and natural gas industry remains invested in ensuring that we not only meet our state and nation’s energy needs, but keep Texas an energy leader.”

Meanwhile, in February, nationwide employment in the oilfield services and equipment (OFS) sector posted its first month/month decline since August, according to the Energy Workforce & Technology Council.

The OFS job count dipped by 271 jobs to 651,837 for the month, Energy Workforce said, citing BLS data.

“This past month, energy workforce numbers remained relatively flat as the sector seeks to add workers across America to meet the growing global demand for energy,” said the group’s CEO Leslie Beyer. “With fewer employees over the past three years, our industry has been able to meet the spikes in demand and is producing close to pre-pandemic levels all while developing new technology and deploying innovative production processes that are lowering emissions.”