Oil-field services and equipment companies in the United States added thousands of jobs in June as oil producers continued to bring more rigs online to meet recovering demand for petroleum products.
Preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed employment in the U.S. energy technology and services sector increased by an estimated 8,002 jobs in June, the fourth consecutive month of growth.
The BLS data show that June’s 1.3 percent growth came after the sector added nearly 24,000 positions during previous three months. The industry hit a pandemic low of 591,413 jobs in the oil field services sector in February.
The recovery of the oil services industry is two-fold, says Gary Stone, vice president of engineering with Five States Energy Company.
“First, drilling activity has picked up with the increase in crude oil and natural gas prices,” said Stone. “Second, the pace of non-drilling services has increased, as companies are maintaining the surface equipment and repairing downhole issues in marginal producers.
“As a result, jobs have increased and some of the thousands of workers laid off in 2020 have been rehired,” Stone said. “In addition to the workforce itself, the economic impact of a healthy oil services workforce trickles down to other aspects of the economy.”
Fossil Fuels Endure
Increased jobs in the oil field services sector means people are going back to work in other sectors as well, says Robert L. Bradley, Jr., CEO and founder of the Institute for Energy Research.
“The oil field services sector is a derived demand for oil and gas drilling, and serves as a leading indicator about the future,” Bradley said. “There is a wellhead boom going on with high profit margins at $70 per barrel oil.
“Transportation demand is back, and there is a lot of potential for ever more people moving about, for business, recreation, and to conduct daily activities, like getting the kids to school, by car or bus,” Bradley said. “Interestingly, the bare beginnings of commercial space travel opens up another new market for petroleum, because a battery isn’t going to get you off the launch pad.”
‘A Fossil-Fueled World’
Even those concerned about fighting climate change are contributing to the recovery in oil jobs
“There is a robust, open-ended future for petroleum products, and governments and climate change non-profits are contributing to it,” Bradley said. “Evidence of this comes from the swell of transportation, including by many private or chartered jets, to the COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow in November,” said Bradley. “It’s a fossil-fueled world.”
Kenneth Artz (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes from Dallas, Texas.