A problem for the U.S. shale oil and gas industry that analysts and observers have warned about for a long time has materialized: there is a shortage of workers. According to one service provider for E&Ps, trucker jobs remain vacant even with an annual paycheck of $80,000, which is certainly a big change from a couple of years ago when layoffs were sweeping through the shale patch.
This shortage could dampen the prospects of not just shale producers, who are eager to ramp up production as quickly as possible and take advantage of higher international oil prices, but it will also seriously hamper the recovery of the oilfield services segment, which has been hit harder than E&Ps by the price crash.
We wrote earlier this year how oilfield service providers are starting to get back at producers with higher fees for their services, to make up for the hefty discounts they were forced to offer over the last two years to stay afloat. Drilling rates per well almost doubled in some cases as the market turned from buyer-dominated to supplier-dominated.We also noted then that this could be problematic for producers as they, too, have yet to recover fully from the blow dealt them by the price crash, limiting their ability to regain profitability. Now, the workforce shortage is exacerbating the problem.
U.S. crude oil output has been rising at a faster rate than in the original shale revolution, according to Bloomberg, gaining 125,000 bpd on average since last September. Currently, it exceeds 9 million bpd and is widely seen as the main factor limiting the growth potential of oil prices.
Full article: U.S. Shale Faces A Workforce Shortage (OilPrice)