AQUA BOOK 2015 - Page 27

SOUTH TEXAS’S OIL EXPOSURE F alling oil prices at the end of 2014 has prompted concerns about how the South Texas region can weather the headwinds resulting from the imminent cutback in shale oil drilling activity in the Eagle Ford region. Should oil prices continue to stay at currently low levels, what’s in store for the South Texas economy? This question can be answered by first looking at the exposure of our regional economy to existing oil and gas drilling activity. The relative size of employment in that industry is a reasonable measure of the first-order effect of any change in shale oil production. The accompanying column chart shows the shares of employment in oil and gas extraction and its support activities across the five metro areas in South Texas in 2014. Except for Brownsville, oil and gas employment was more concentrated in most metro areas within the region than the U.S. In Corpus Christi, the oil and gas industry accounted for as much as 6 percent of its area employment. Oil & Gas Employment Share, 2014 OIL IMPACTS The role of the oil and gas industry in South Texas has changed dramatically since the 1970s. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. The role of the oil and gas industry in South Texas has changed dramatically since the 1970s. In Corpus Christi, even though the oil and gas sector has recovered most of its jobs destroyed during the oil crash in the mid-1980s, direct oil and gas employment now accounts for 6 percent of total area employment, which is still one-third less than that during its peak three decades ago. Annual Review of South Texas Economy 25