ODESSA, Texas — The sound of oil production is certainly music to our ears here in West Texas.
As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on many industries- including oil and gas service providers. Now they're having a hard time gaining back their employees.
Oil and gas leaders, from CEOs to lawmakers, are wondering what the future of oil and gas will look like and how it could grow. One essential component to make that goal happen starts with the workers.
NewsWest 9 spoke with Tim Dunn, CEO for CrownQuest Operating. He said the impacts of a global pandemic drilled down on the oil and gas industry. He believes navigating through the pandemic is like being stuck in traffic.
"It's kind of like when you are out in the road and you wonder why is everybody stopped, everybody is stopped because it started with somebody slowing down three miles ahead," said Dunn. "By the time you are a few miles back everything is completely stopped."
Dunn said the pandemic touched every industry, but especially those in oil and gas.
"I hear about two things that people are concerned about and that is having adequate workers and supply chain disruptions," said Dunn. "This means they can't get the materials or products needed to do their business. There is a lot of stress with the economic system globally."
When it comes to hiring people, Dunn believes problems of the past like filling long shifts at working locations is still a problem for the industry.
"Generally, the way to overcome this is with significant pay opportunities. When people believe this is something for their best interest they will do it but if they have another alternative they'll do that. I don't think that is anything new, I think that has always been a challenge," said Dunn.
Despite the headaches the pandemic has caused, state leaders are optimistic about where oil and gas is headed.
"I think it's changing but we're here and we're booming really. If you look at Midland and Odessa, we are the only two counties in the west of the interstate that grew during these last ten years. I think the outlook is really great," Tom Craddick, State Representative for Texas said.
Oil and gas leaders remain hopeful not only to help the industry, but the region itself.
"What I hope happens... is that it becomes a great place to be in, that we have more people settling here rather than just commuting in for work" said Dunn. "I think we are making some progress on that, but we need to make a lot more."