Right now there is a Low-key oil boom going on in West Texas. Sparsely populated areas such as Winkler county are now slammed with massive amounts of oil field traffic. Believe me, I know. It took me 45 to drive the 1.5 miles across the wee-little town of Kermit. It was bumper-to-bumper Peterbilts.
The low-key oil boom started the day Donald Trump was elected. No, not the day he took office, the day he was elected. When players in the oilfield knew Hillary Clinton wouldn’t kill their projects, they took them off the back burner and broke ground.
At that time, November 2016, oil was only about $40 to $50 a barrel. Despite the oil price slump from it’s heyday in 2014, when it peaked at $100+, activity started ramping up in the Permian Basin.
Companies found a way to turn a profit by taking advantage of lower costs. Rather than gouge each other as in the full-blown oil boom, they offered discounts commensurate with the lower oil price. Mostly by underpaying guys like me who swing the hammers.
When the Low-key Oil Boom took effect, places went from struggling to keep open to struggling to hire enough help. Add to that various geo-political factors driving oil up to $70 a barrel, and the low-key oil boom started coming on stronger. Hey, I even got a raise!
Other areas of the country such as the Dakotas and South Texas haven’t been revived by this Low-Key Oil Boom. That’s because the industry in Midland and Odessa is so robust that it can sustain itself.
In my own experience it seems that a big driver in the Low-key Oil Boom is construction of infrastructure and midstream facilities. For example, when oil was $100 a barrel, they were drilling like madmen and paying trucks to haul away the produced water.
But now, they’re focused more on efficiency. So rather than send salt water to the disposal by truck, they’re spending the capital on pipelines and pumping it there.
When the Low-Key Oil Boom first kicked off it brought more money but it was locals only. There weren’t too many guys from out-of-town. But that’s starting to change. Today, I got stuck behind a welder with Arkansas plates. Uh-oh. Looks like the Low-Key Oil Boom is going mainstream.