Frack Crew Shortage Hits Nationwide, Including the Marcellus

Once upon a time (in 2013), the oil and gas industry was expanding so rapidly that in places like North Dakota workers at the local McDonalds were getting a singing bonus and making $20/hour. No lie. Workers on drilling rigs and frack crews were paid a premium to keep working. But we became victims of our own success. So much oil and natural gas was produced, the market became saturated and prices crashed. And along with the price crash, rigs were idled and workers were laid off–in the tens and eventually hundreds of thousands. By the time of the deepest, darkest part of the down cycle (early 2016), some 350,000 workers in the industry had received a pink slip (see Big Oil’s Footprint in Washington Shrinks With Price of Crude). Oil and gas is a boom and bust business–that’s the reality. And guess what? The boom times are back. There are now not enough workers and some crews are leaving one company and going to work for another–lured away by higher wages. It’s happening across the Fruited Plain. It’s also happening in the Marcellus. One (very big) Marcellus driller was “left short of fracking crews during the first quarter when some pumping companies walked away for higher-paying contracts.” What does it all mean? It means the good times are here again. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts…

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