Employment in the Texas' oil and gas industry has risen for the third straight month as producers step up drilling activity, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said.

Oil and gas employment in March rose by 3,500 to a total of about 211,700, the bank said today in its energy indicators report for May. Of the total, 92,500 were in exploration and drilling.

The job increases were mostly in support activities, but the overall "sector continued its recovery in April," as Nymex WTI crude prices rebounded slightly from the drop in March, it said.

The average WTI spot price increased in April to $51.06/bl from $49.33/bl in March.

"All eyes are on the upcoming 25 May OPEC meeting, where members will vote on whether to extend production cuts agreed upon in November 2016," it said.

Opec and 11 major non-Opec producers led by Russia had agreed to cut production by 1.8mn b/d for a period of six months from the start of this year. An extension beyond that initial six-month period will be discussed in Vienna.

The deal has successfully removed over 1.6mn b/d of crude supply from the market — a compliance rate of 91pc — but it is not making a big enough or fast enough dent in bulging global oil inventories.

US shale crude output is expected to rise by 122,000 b/d to 5.4mn b/d next month, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its latest Drilling Productivity Report issued on 15 May. The largest increases will be in the Permian basin in Texas and New Mexico, and the Eagle Ford in south Texas.

Permian in production should increase by 71,000 b/d from May to June to about 2.49mn b/d, and in the Eagle Ford by 36,000 b/d to about 1.28mn b/d in June.