Texas crude production hits highest level since 1980

HOUSTON — An index that measures oil and gas activity in Texas has reached a record level, bolstered by rising production and wellhead prices, its creators announced this week.

The Texas Petro Index hit the record in February, buoyed by daily crude production levels that soared to the state’s highest level since 1980, said Karr Ingham, the economist who created the index. February crude production in Texas reached an estimated 77.2 million barrels — up 22.4 percent from the same time period in 2013.

Ingham said higher wellhead prices caused an even more dramatic increase in the value of oil and gas produced in February, which rose by more than $2.85 billion from the previous year to $10.63 billion.

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The Texas Petro Index was created by the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, a trade group of independent producers, in 1995. It combines various metrics to provide an indication of the health and trajectory of oil and gas production in the state.

It’s not unusual for the Texas Petro Index to hit record levels — the alliance regularly touts the milestone — but it underscores the extent to which the energy boom continues to play out in Texas.

The index was also bolstered by growing employment in the oil and gas industry within Texas as well.

The sector averaged about 285,000 people on its payroll in February — a record figure up nearly 5 percent from the same period a year ago.  Ingham said figures from the Texas Workforce Commission indicate the oil and gas industry is adding people at a faster rate than it has in recent years.

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