MIDLAND, Texas (KETK) – The oil industry is king in the Lone Star State. Thousands of East Texans are rushing out west to drill the soil for cash.
“The money is good,” Ramon Cibrian, an oilfield worker from Henderson says. “I’m not gonna make this money back home.”
The oil industry is booming. Texas leads the way, accounting for 39 percent of all U.S. oil and gas jobs with over 325,000 employees.
Holly Stanley of New Diana is happily married to Joshua Stanley, an oilfield worker from Henderson currently working in West Texas.
“I would give my life for him,” Stanley says. “I love him.”
Stanley is the proud mother of a little girl and soon a little boy too.
“I’m 23 weeks pregnant and his name is Liam Stanley.”
She works full time at a bank in Henderson while raising her daughter. Stanley is just one of many oilfield moms who stay behind while their husbands work hours away in the Permian Basin.
“He’s out there making money, and I’m the homemaker. I fix anything that needs to be fixed around the house, and I also make money.”
One of the challenges oilfield moms face is safety.
“At night, when I’m by myself sometimes I am afraid, but I try to be strong for my daughter.”
That is one of the reasons why her home has a security system. She also has friends who check on her on a regular basis.
“I always check my surroundings wherever I am,” Stanley says. “I became more aware of that when I had kids.”
‘We’re doing what’s best for our family while relying on our faith.”
Living in Midland can be expensive, which is why she stayed behind in Henderson.
“I think they take advantage of oilfield workers. Hotels are expensive!”
Right now, the average price for a one bedroom apartment is over $1,500 a month, according to the website RentCafe. Midland has the highest average rent price in the entire state.
The cost of living is the biggest reason why most families decide to stay behind in East Texas, but some decide to head out to the dry and wind of West Texas.
Ramon and Josie Cibrian from Henderson decided to pack their bags and keep their family together.
“I said, if we are gonna go, we are gonna go together,” Ramon Cibrian says. “She said that sounds good to me. My boys are too little. I didn’t want to leave them at home without a dad.”
Josie Cibrian is an oilfield mom of two sons. Her busy day includes: cooking, cleaning and studying for her dental assisting program. She says wives of oil workers are stereotyped as living an easy life.
“It’s not as glamorous as everyone thinks,” Josie Cibrian says. “We are still moms. We are still women.”
The Cibrians live in a two bedroom apartment, which they say is a lot more than they would pay in East Texas.
“$1,775. This is not with utilities,” Ramon Cibrian says. “That’s why all these oilfield workers come out here in trailers.”
More families will be making this difficult choice after 46.3 billion barrels of crude oil was discovered in the Permian Basin. That means more jobs for East Texans.
”This is really bad news for places like Russia and Iran,” Raymond Woodward of BHL Consulting, Inc in Tyler says. “Its relatively bad news for OPEC and perhaps Nigeria and a lot of exporting countries.”
Stanley says her husband Joshua will continue to work out west until they save up enough money for the new baby and a bigger house. In the meantime, they video chat every night while she relies on her faith.
“I always pray for his safety and that he always comes home. I miss him so much.”
She looks forward to the day when he comes back and stays, because home is where the heart is.