Are We Headed For a Possible Bust In The Oilfield Industry?

By Sylvia Gonzalez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - With the current state of the economy in the Permian Basin, it's hard to imagine anyone without a job, but it's something that's happening more often and it's targeting oilfield workers. Natural gas rigs are being taken out of service and workers are sent packing home.

Boom or bust? Well, depends who you ask, many people who still have their jobs will say we are in a boom. However, there are some workers who have been laid off due to rigs being taken out of service and for them this is a bust.

Morris Burns, an Oil and Gas Consultant, tells NewsWest 9 why there has been an increase of rigs taken out of service.

"The reason that rigs are being stacked right now is these are rigs that were drilling for natural gas. The price of natural gas has gotten so low that it is not economical to drill if you can't make any money out of it," Burns said.

He says the number of rigs drilling for oil has increased but not enough to offset the number of rigs drilling for natural gas.

"The number of rigs drilling for oil has gotten up but it hasn't gotten up as much enough to offset the drop in natural gas rigs, but the rigs that are being brought in from the field right now are rigs that are drilling for natural gas," Burns said.

Mary Lou Acosta, Office Manager at the Permian Basin Workforce Solution Office in Odessa, says this has been the biggest increase of people coming to her office in the last six months and that number is growing.

"For the week of September, which was the week of September the 4th through the 7th we have actually seen 241 people come into our resource room. In the month of August, we had 1167."

NewsWest 9 asked Acosta if the increase in people showing up at her office could possibly be tied to the oil rigs being taken out of service.

"None of that has been confirmed through our agency. No employer has called us to confirm or to give us any information as far as that occurring so none of that can be confirmed, only that our numbers are increasing," Acosta said.

Burns tells NewsWest 9 that regardless of whether there are rigs being taken out of service, the boom is in full swing and there is no reason anyone should worry.