Unemployment on the Rise in the Permian Basin?

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN--It seems workers at Flint Hills Resources aren't the only ones getting their walking papers.   NewsWest 9 has received several calls from others who are out of work.

One of the hardest things for many to face has been the fact the oil boom would eventually bottom out.   Several Permian Basin residents have called saying they're being layed off from their jobs or know someone who is.

The companies most often referred to are Patterson Drilling, Key Energy, Big Dog Drilling, and Chesapeake Energy. We spoke with representatives from two of those companies.

According to Walter Smith, with Big Dog Drilling, they currently own and are operating 25 rigs at full capacity.  Smith says there have been no layoffs at his company so far.

The same thing with Oklahoma City based, Chesapeake Energy.   Media Representative Jim Gipson says he's been in contact with the Midland office who reports they were not laying anyone off, in fact, just Friday, they were in the process of completing paperwork on two new hires.

But, according to the Texas Workforce Commisison, some companies have reported layoffs.   In fact, in the last few weeks, both Midland and Odessa offices have seen an increase in the number of unemployment claims.

Willie Taylor, CEO of the Permian Basin Workforce says, this is nothing unusual, "This is the fourth quarter and a lot of the industries are beginning to slow down and cut back as they close out the year."

Only time will tell who will be the next to fall victim to layoffs and when.   According to one company we spoke to, it all depends on the oil market.   Key Energy and Patterson UTI did not return our phone calls.