texas oil boom

The Texas Oil Boom


A look at Midland, a Texas oil boom town.


barely part of it by the droves
boom average unemployment
stuff nickname renaissance
strain steroids country fair
ripple permanent what’s the matter
rig go around home away from home
avenue celebrate pretty much
ironic no matter it doesn’t matter
bare walk off come and go
court pull down appropriate
scarce find out boom and bust
hubris as long as extraordinary
churn well (3)


Video: Texas Oil Boom



If you want to find out how good things are in midland, visit the county fair. Texas is a great economic state — but Midland is even better! People are moving in here by the droves. There are great jobs, midland is booming.

At five dollars each, these rides are expensive. But here they can afford it. Personal incomes are the second highest in the United States. Unemployment, at 3.5% is less than half the national average.

“If you don’t have a job here, it’s because you don’t want to work.”

How are things in Midland at the moment?

“They’re great. They’re booming. The oil business is great. I work for an oil company it’s great.”

Oil and gas. Midland lives, breathes and sleeps this stuff. This region is being driven by the renaissance of the industry. It’s created an economy on steroids.

And strains are starting to show.

Housing is a real problem in this part of Texas. The demand for accommodation for oil workers is so great, there’s not enough to go around.
So oil companies build their own temporary hotels.

They’re nicknamed, man-camps

“Good morning.”

They house workers in these camps often for weeks at a time.

“Everything you possibly need. Oh yeah, this is home away from home.”

All these workers need to be housed, fed and paid. Oil and gas wealth is rippling out across the region.

“One rid create 150 to 200 jobs, but indirectly it creates jobs in restaurants, growth in our schools, more teachers, more roads need to be constructed to support all of this.”

“It’s quite a big space.”

For home builder Mark it’s the ultimate one industry company town.

“I’m in the oil business even though I’m a home builder.”

“Is everyone in Midland in the oil business?”

“Pretty much, yes sir.”

No matter how many homes he builds, it will never be enough.

“We’ll probably do 75 homes this year, and we can sell 300 houses.”

Ironically, there is one house that’s empty. But you can’t buy or rent 1412 West Ohio avenue. It was owned by the first president Bush and it’s where the second president Bush grew up and it’s now a museum.

If housing is scarce in Midland, then so are workers.

Ask Duke Edwards, the owner of Basin Burger who has a battle to keep staff.

“Our biggest problem is labor. We’re paying $10, $11, $12 an hour for basic stuff. In the oil field, they make $30, $40.

“How easy is it to find a job in midland, Texas?”

“Ridiculously easy.”

They all know they could walk off a job today, and have another job tomorrow.

Barely has the boom begun and they’re already thinking big in Midland.

The plan is to pull down the old courthouse, and put in its place, a 53 story tower, one of the tallest in Texas, appropriately it will be called the energy tower.

This is classic Texas hubris.

Talk big, build big on the back of oil which is surprising because Midland has a history of boom and bust. And even more surprising, they expect it to happen again.

“You don’t believe it’s here to last?”

“No sir, it’s not here to last. I’ve been through two of them. Two of the busts. So it’ll stay for a few years. It’s Just comes and goes, it’s just part of it. Boom and bust.”

It’s extraordinary. As long as the price of oil stays high, the wells will keep churning. So this is one oil town that will keep celebrating, right till the end.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. The economy of Midland, Texas is booming. True or false? Why does Midland have a great economy?

2. Are the rides in the amusement park cheap or expensive? How much is the fare?

3. Only lazy people don’t work in Midland. Yes or no? Does Midland have high or low unemployment? Is it difficult to find a job?

4. Are many people moving into Midland? How do people feel in Midland?

5. Are contractors and construction workers busy? Why? Describe the supply and demand for houses in Midland.

6. Where do many oil workers live? Do they like it? Is it okay? Women also live there. Is this correct or wrong?

7. There are jobs only for oil workers. Is this right or wrong? What are the wages for workers in Midland?

8. What are they going to do downtown (the city center)?

9. What will happen in the future?


A. Are you from Texas? Do you live in Texas? Have you ever been to Texas, or the rest of the Untied States? Have you met anyone from Texas?

B. What do you associate with Texas? What comes to mind when you hear the name Texas?

C. There are oil deposits in my country. Yes or no? Is oil extracted?

D. Is it easy or difficult to find work where you live?

E. What places in your country are “hot” for jobs and opportunities?

F. Do people from your country emigrate to other countries? Where do they go? Why do they go there?

G. Do immigrants move to your country? Where do they come from? Why do they come?


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