US OFS jobs near pre-pandemic levels in October, with Texas Top Employers

Employment in the US oilfield industry rose slightly in October from the previous month, with employment at the highest level since September 2021, according to the Energy Workforce & Technology Council.

The domestic oilfield services (OFS) and equipment sector rose an estimated 124 jobs to 640,282 in October, according to preliminary data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Adjustments to job numbers in September reduced the final number to 640,158 from 640,767.

OFS employment remains below pre-pandemic numbers of 706,528 as set in February 2020.

“Our workforce is at the forefront of developing new technologies and introducing innovative production processes that reduce emissions,” said Leslie Beyer, CEO of Energy Technology. The trade group represents 600,000 US jobs in the energy value chain.

“The continued gains in our sector are encouraging, especially as growth is declining across the country,” Beyer said. “The industry is producing almost at pre-pandemic levels, with fewer employees and increased political hurdles. More investment and a unified regulatory landscape are needed to unleash the power of American energy and ensure energy security for our nation and that of our allies, while continuing to reduce global emissions and energy costs.”

OFS jobs in October were heavily weighted in Texas, the largest oil and gas producing state employing about 312,000 people. Louisiana came second with more than 53,000. Oklahoma recorded nearly 49,000 jobs, with Colorado ranking fourth with nearly 26,000.

Meanwhile, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) said the state’s requests for oil and gas drilling permits rose in October from a year earlier. The Permian Basin operators have been at the forefront of permit requests.

The RRC said it issued 851 initial drill permits in October, out of a total of 768 in the prior year. Last month’s total included 735 permits to drill new oil or natural gas wells, 12 to re-enter plugged wells and 98 to re-complete existing wells.

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The well type breakdown for original drilling permits in Texas last month was 191 oil, 122 gas, 501 oil or gas, 25 injection and 12 other permits.

Commission officials also processed 977 oil, 181 gas and 317 injection deals for new wells, re-entry and re-closes last month. This compares to 597 oil, 95 gas and 341 injections completed in October 2021.

The total number of Texas well completions processed in 2022 through October for new drills, re-entry and re-completions was 11,442, the RRC said. This compares to 7,980 in the same period in 2021.