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Energy Report: link found between oil boom and meth use in Permian Basin

July 27th, 2017 under Top Stories

By NICK WINCHESTER

nick@bigbendnow.com

WEST TEXAS — There is a strong correlation between the rise of drilling activity and the number of crystal meth seizures in the area surrounding the Permian Basin, according to an analysis of data from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Houston oil field services company Baker Hughes by the Houston Chronicle.

The report found that in line with the boom, between 2009 and 2016, when the rig count in the Permian Basin rose fivefold at its peak in 2014, Texas state troopers experienced a 4,000 percent increase in meth seizures in the counties surrounding the area.

“When the oil price is up, there’s more methamphetamine in our entire community,” Steve Thomason, executive director at the Springboard Center, an alcohol and drug treatment facility in Midland told the Chronicle. It’s not uncommon, he said, to see a young oil field worker “roll up to outpatient treatment in a Corvette.”

There has also been a rise in industry workers failing drug tests administered during the hiring process at oil and gas firms, the report found. “Dynamic Oilfield Services, an oil-equipment company based in Corpus Christi, has seen roughly half of its job applicants from West Texas fail drug tests this year,” the report states.

In other energy news, the Texas Railroad Commissioner approved another wildcat well in Jeff Davis County on July 11, the seventh this year. Oklahoma-based Devon Energy Corporation submitted the application on July 10.

Motorists in all but eight states saw gasoline prices rise in the last week while the nation’s average price rose 2 cents to $2.28 per gallon, a stark turnaround from the week prior when twenty states saw average prices rise as the national trend shows its hottest gain of the summer, according to GasBuddy.

“The turnaround in gasoline prices comes as gasoline demand hits its peak of the summer driving season,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. “Coupled with rising oil prices, the situation has led to a rise in wholesale gasoline prices, which fueled much of the rise, as stations passed along higher prices. However, motorists shouldn’t get used to seeing these types of increases – we saw many one-time adjustments in the last week that we aren’t likely to see again this week.”

Texas remains in the top ten states with the cheapest gasoline, at an average of $2.09 across the state.

“Oil prices, meanwhile, closed out last week little changed with West Texas Intermediate crude oil finishing at $45.77 per barrel. Prices rose in early Monday trading to $46.32 per barrel after both OPEC and non-OPEC countries met. As a result of the meeting, OPEC announced that Nigeria would be joining in previously announced production cuts. However, should oil prices rally back over $50 per barrel, it is highly likely that U.S. production and rig counts would continue to rise, ruining OPEC’s attempts to boost prices. Meanwhile, government data shows that, overall, oil inventories are still very healthy but over 40 million barrels below levels seen in March, a sign that oil markets may be coming into better balance,” GasBuddy stated in a news release.

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