In 2018, the Permian Basin just may be be the most active oilfield in the world.
While it may be 100 years old, it's output has overtaken Iran's. It's helped push the US to record production levels.
Accordingly, The Permian attracts thousands of workers from every part of the country where entry level jobs regularity pay over $100,000/yr. They all want a piece of what people in Midland TX refer to as a "modern-day gold rush".
"All the major oil companies and exploration companies are moving out here. They're selling their assets everywhere else," Josh Garcia told Vice, who’s the Operations Manager for a company that supplies chemicals to drilling.
He's been in the Oil Business for years and looks the part. “At this point, it’s just a matter of numbers. Companies need to fill those spots, and they’ll train you.
You can rewrite your story out here if you want to,” said Garcia.
The Vice article goes on to talk about an individual named Mike “Snowflake” Smith. Back in Austin, he was a high-school dropout.
However, in the booming Texas oilfield, he’s a welder-in-training working 14-hour days in 110-degree weather - for a very healthy paycheck.
He also has the prerequisite 'toys' to prove it: a new truck, apple watch, almost-new RV, ostrich-leather work boots and expensive tattoos. Snowflake’s so in demand, he can pick and choose between jobs.
And Snowflake is not alone.
By many estimates (including a flurry of employer activity we see on Energy Job Shop), Midland and surrounding areas of West Texas currently have 20,000 unfilled positions, and the town will need 40,000 more homes for the influx of people.
In the meantime, thousands of oilfield workers sleep and eat in “man camps” -- rows of converted containers or trailers that extend over as much as 40 acres of rocky land that’s no good for either drilling or grazing.
While all is well for the foreseeable future, some are leery - and rightfully so.
For now, Texans who’ve seen a century of booms and their fair share of busts, the good times definitely appear back.