Oil and gas activity turned modestly upward in the first quarter of 2012 after slight declines in the latter half of 2012, according to the latest release of the Texas Petro Index (TPI).
Crude oil production, natural gas prices and industry employment all posted year-over-year gains to help boost the TPI in March.
After seven straight months of decline, the statewide rig count rose again in February and March, crude oil prices have stabilized and natural gas prices, while still not favorable to significant increases in activity, have improved considerably compared to year-ago levels.
Highlights of activity in the oil and gas industry reported this past month show:
• The TPI increased to 277 from 275.2 last month.
• The number of Texans estimated to be on oil and gas industry payrolls reached a record 271,000, according to Texas Workforce Commission estimates revised in March. Industry employment in Texas dropped to a low of 179,200 in October 2009 after reaching a high of 223,200 in November 2008 during the previous growth cycle.
• Crude oil production in Texas reached an estimated 50.2 MMbbls, about 6 MMbbls (11.5%) more than in March 2012.
• Crude oil wellhead prices averaged $89.73/bbl, about 12.7% less than in March 2012.
• Estimated Texas natural gas output was about 627.6 Bcf, a year-over-year monthly decline of 3.4%.
• Natural gas prices averaged $3.30 per Mcf, about 38.2% more than in March 2012.
The Baker Hughes count of active drilling rigs in Texas averaged 833, 9.8% fewer than in March 2012, when an average of 924 rigs were operating. Drilling activity in Texas peaked in September 2008 at a monthly average of 946 rigs before falling to a trough of 329 in June 2009.