The Consortium is comprised of a broad cross-section of community members and stakeholders interested in partnering to address the community and economic realities resulting from the exploration and activities in the West Texas Region. WTxEC serves as a forum for industry representatives and partners in areas such as education, workforce, housing, local government and the non-profit sector to identify common issues and challenges, work together on solutions, and seek additional public/private resources to address those challenges. Our board, staff and its membership are private business owners, energy experts and workforce leaders. We understand and support the growth of business, community development and the balance of corporate responsibility to achieve a higher quality of life in the communities we serve.
The West Texas Energy Consortium was established in 2013 in response to the region's need for skilled workforce and community development surrounding the latest surge in oil & gas production with the shale revolution taking place. The Governor's Office provided support through oil & gas initiative funding that allowed the Consortium to establish itself. Area workforce boards, economic development corporations, community colleges, and business partners continue to support our endeavors.
Our region consists of 49 counties located in the Concho Valley, West Central Texas and the heart of the Permian Basin reaching all the way up into southeast New Mexico. With offices in Abilene, San Angelo and Odessa, WTxEC covers over 60,000 square miles in the region.
WTxEC provides "best practices" for community, education, and workforce partners. We work with trade associations to bring successful development strategies to the region. We are the first in Texas to develop a regional approach to workforce problem-solving in a major Texas enterprise area. We tackle challenges successfully with the 'ecosystem' approach through linkages to industry, institutions of higher education, regional school systems, and workforce leaders. To learn more about our approach, visit the Key Strategies page.
Education & Workforce Development
WTxEC hosts an annual conference that can vary in content and subject matter. Conferences in the past have focused on energy growth, community development, and industry partnerships. This past year WTxEC hosted the E3 Summit (Engage.Educate.Employ) bringing together professional development for educators and economic development initiatives for community, business, and workforce leaders in a single event format to create dialogue and create opportunities for growth. In 2017 we launched STEM Center of Excellence, the TxGradU8 degree planning mobile application, and a teacher externship program. The Consortium also supports and/or hosts a number of regional career fairs and STEM festivals around the region, in addition to administering scholarships to qualifying students to participate in dual credit courses, post-secondary degree and certificate programs, and STEM opportunities with UT GeoForce and NASA.
Community & Economic Development
The West Texas Energy Consortium has established industry sector partnerships around the region. These partnerships center around Manufacturing and Healthcare, two industries heavily impacted by developments in the energy sector.
Road Safety, Transportation & Infrastructure
The West Texas Energy Consortium has partnered with industry leaders to form the Permian Road Safety Coalition (PRSC) to address some of the concerns around infrastructure impacts from oil and gas growth. The PRSC was established as an innovative collaboration of cross-industry efforts with oil and gas operators, service companies, transporation companies, government organizations and non-government organizations. As a founding member and lead facilitator of the Permian Road Safety Coalition, WTxEC supports the efforts of the PRSC to advance best practices, work with local governments and stakeholders, collect data, and host forums to collaborate and identify actionable solutions. In 2017 the Permian Road Safety Coalition won the Crystal Award from the American Marketing Association for its non-profit cause campaign.
The energy industry is constantly evolving. From the highs of the 1980's and late 2000's to the current downturn, oil and gas will always be a cyclical industry that is impacted by many global players and advancements involving OPEC, supply and demand, storage capacity, technology, and other factors. Different presidential administrations in the United States can also affect how the industry ebbs and flows. With the emergence of shale oil, more independent producers, and technological upgrades, oil and gas will continue to play a large role in local, regional, state, and national economies.
The resurgence the oil industry experienced from 2009 to 2014 has been a huge factor in the national economic recovery, creating some of the highest paying jobs in Texas. Between July 2009 and July 2011 Texas created 49% of all the new jobs in the nation and the majority of those were either directly or indirectly the result of the state’s oil & gas growth. The oil & gas surge helped positively impact other industries as well. Petroleum products are needed to meet an increased demand for chemicals, fertilizers, plastics, cosmetics and a number of other products. Steel pipe manufacturers have increased production to meet the needs of new pipeline infrastructure. In the meantime, ship manufacturers are building new ships to help in the transport of oil and gas. The increase in rail lines to carry more product to market and refineries has also become necessary. New factories and plants were and are being built to meet a variety of product demands that stem from petroleum. Production growth creates a ripple effect for the U.S. economy. Despite the downture in recent years, shale oil and its impact on the state and national economy has proved to be resilient. Additional resources can be found in the section on oil & gas.
The industry has recognized the need to take care of local water resources. Over 15 companies operating in the Permian Basin area recycle 80-90% of the water they use. Several companies currently use no fresh water in their drilling development. A number of companies are committed to not using fresh water in any of their future operations and will continue research and development toward that goal. Water service and technology companies have been working with communities and companies to tap into brackish water aquifers, take produced water from drill sites and process/treat them for reuse. For more information, head on over to the "key issues" page on water.
Oil produced in West Texas is called “light sweet crude” meaning it has low levels of sulfur which makes it perfect for processing into gasoline and is in high demand. The “sweet” comes from 19th century prospectors that would smell and taste the crude to test its quality.
Prices fall because of changes in world supply and world demand. In the last several years America has become an energy-producing powerhouse. As a result of the shale oil & gas development here in the US; we have increased domestic supply by 50%. At those present levels we are saving $200 billion a year that normally is sent to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other foreign countries. Without this energy development, the U.S. economy would not have recovered from the recession in 2008 to its current level. Other factors, such as recent changes in law regarding oil and gas exports, also impact pricing.
The workforce needs associated with oil & gas development cover a wide spectrum. The oil & gas industry in particular is in need of engineers, welders, CDL drivers, diesel mechanics, hydraulics repairs, and so on. There are other industries that are equally impacted by this growth. The housing/building industry is looking for electricians, plumbers, HVAC installers/technicians, roofers, dry wall, and framers. You name it, the building industry needs it. Healthcare personnel are already in high demand with the increase of baby boomers needing more medical care. With growth and added population in the West Texas region, hospital expansions and healthcare services are on the rise. Don't forget about business professionals, who are sought after as more businesses open their doors or expand their operations. Learn more about what the Consortium is doing to address these needs on the Education & Workforce page.