With global oil prices rising, these should be boom times for the Texas fracking industry. But News Radio 1200 WOAI reports oil producers can't maximize their production, because they can't find enough workers.
And Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian says that is because millennials don't want to work in the oil industry...because they believe oil and other fossil fuels are destroying the planet.
"This threat is the misunderstanding of the oil and gas industry, and the acceptance of the politically correct environmental oil and gas science," Christian told the Texas House Energy Resources Committee."In recent surveys, 14% of Millennials said they would not work in the oil and gas industry because of its negative image, and two out of three teenagers say the industry causes problems instead of solving them."
Christian says every oil producer he has talked with, either at the well head, midstream, or downstream tell him they could increase their production with oil prices at their highest level in three years, but they can't find enough workers.
99,000 Texas oil industry jobs were lost when the price of oil crashed in late 2014. Most of those people have gone on to jobs elsewhere in the strong Texas economy, and most say they would not return to an industry which is as subject to ups and downs as oil has traditionally been. Christian says oilfield jobs pay in many cases 60 to 80 percent more than the average Texas wage.
"But because of that misunderstanding, many people don't want to go into the oil and gas industry, especially students."Christian says Texas schools should explain the benefits of oil and gas to the world's prosperity. He says all too often, young people tell him that working in oil is no different than 'growing tobacco.'
"Every society that has industrialized thanks to oil and gas is actually cleaner than societies that have not," he said. "The jobs are avaailble and they are not equivalent to growing tobacco. They have actually produced a better environment."