Texas easing out of downturn, oil association leader says - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Texas easing out of downturn, oil association leader says

Pumpjack in the Permian Basin (Source: KWES/File Video) Pumpjack in the Permian Basin (Source: KWES/File Video)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas' oil and natural gas industry added 4,700 new jobs between September and December last year and is starting to "ease out of the dramatic downturn."

That's the message from Texas Oil and Gas Association President Todd Staples, anyway.           

On a conference call Tuesday, Staples said that, despite the downturn, his industry paid $9.4 billion in state and local taxes and royalties in fiscal year 2016.           

The energy sector lost nearly 100,000 jobs statewide as oil prices crashed from 2014's $110-plus per barrel peak to less than $30 last year. They're improving, but Staples said projecting prices only up to $59 per barrel through fiscal year 2019 was "fairly realistic."           

That likely means little relief for Texas Legislature budget writers already struggling with tighter coffers caused by plummeting oil prices.

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