The Texas oil industry had no where to go but up after crashing down to about $28 per barrel, and the oil and gas expansion in the Lone Star State has done so for the fifth straight month, according to key figures in the industry.

Fuel economist Karr Ingham in his most recent Texas Petro Index concludes that April represented the first year-over-year improvement in the industry based on wellhead prices for oil and gas, drilling rigs in operation, the increase in permits issued, value of Texas oil and gas produced, upstream jobs and volume of oil produced.

"Texas producers are responding to higher wellhead prices that have resulted from coordinated efforts by OPEC, Russia, and others to curtail oil production," he said. "But in large part, production growth in Texas and the U.S. is keeping a lid on crude oil prices, which continues to frustrate parties to that agreement."

Ingham said the TPI in April was 164.3, up 2 percent from its number in that month in 2016. April's figure continues the trend of upward movement seen the past several months remains steady. In February, the TPI was 157.9, up from 153.3 in January. December recorded a TPI of 150.6, up from November's 148.0.

About 1.3 million barrels of crude oil are exported out of the U.S. daily, the economist said. He said that's a little less than the volume removed from the global market from cutback efforts between OPEC, Russia and others. That's a void, Ingham said, Texas producers are more than happy to fill.

The highest the TPI had reached before the bottom fell out of the market was 313.5 in November 2015.

Highlights of the April TPI report include:

 

  • Crude oil production was up about 2.3 percent to 99.55 million barrels, and the value was up nearly 28 percent to $4.7 billion.
  • Natural gas production was down about 4.5 percent to almost 652 billion cubic feet, but the total value increased 44 percent to $1.9 billion because of higher per-unit prices.
  • The year-over-year working rig count was up by 229 from 196 in April 2016 to 425 this April.
  • Drilling permits jumped 33.2 percent from 683 to 909 in year-over-year comparison.
  • On average, more than 204,000 Texans are employed in upstream jobs in the industry, which is up from April last years but lagging significantly from December 2014 when more than 300,000 Texans had upstream oil and gas jobs. November 2014 is when the downturn began.