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Dallas Fed Energy Survey

About the Dallas Fed Energy Survey

The Dallas Fed Energy Survey is a quarterly assessment of oil and gas firms’ operations. Executives report on business conditions involving a number of indicators, such as business activity, capital expenditures, employment, input prices and company outlook. For all questions, participants are asked whether the indicator has increased, decreased or remained unchanged relative to the prior quarter and the year-ago quarter. Participants are also given the opportunity to submit comments on current issues that may be affecting their business.

The Dallas Fed Energy Survey samples about 200 companies and began collecting data in first quarter 2016. The survey covers upstream energy firms located or headquartered in the Eleventh Federal Reserve District—Texas, southern New Mexico and northern Louisiana—including exploration and production (E&P) companies and oil and gas support services firms. The survey does not cover midstream companies such as pipeline transportation services firms or downstream companies such as petroleum refiners (these industries are included in the Texas Business Outlook Surveys). Energy Survey questionnaires are electronically transmitted to respondents toward the end of each quarter, and answers are collected over seven business days. Results are published the last Wednesday of the quarter.

Survey responses are used to calculate an index for each indicator. Each index is calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents reporting a decrease from the percentage reporting an increase. When the share of firms reporting an increase exceeds the share of firms reporting a decrease, the index will be greater than zero, suggesting the indicator increased over the prior period. If the share of firms reporting a decrease exceeds the share reporting an increase, the index will be less than zero, suggesting the indicator has decreased over the prior period.

The indexes are not currently seasonally adjusted. The indexes that reflect how the indicators have changed from the same quarter a year ago are not likely subject to seasonal bias. But the indexes covering changes from the prior quarter may exhibit seasonal patterns, and users should be cautioned that this could lead to misinterpretations about real economic activity. After three years of data have been collected and seasonality can be statistically identified, the quarter-over-quarter indexes will be seasonally adjusted as needed.

Importance of the Survey

The Eleventh District is home to four major oil and natural gas producing areas: the Barnett Shale, the Eagle Ford, the Haynesville Shale and the Permian Basin. A significant number of U.S. E&P and oil and gas support services companies are located or headquartered in the Eleventh District, making the Dallas Fed Energy Survey a useful indicator of sentiment in the national oil and gas sector. Texas alone is the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas in the nation: it produced over one-third of U.S. crude oil and one-fourth of U.S. natural gas in 2015 [1]. The Eleventh District as a whole produces more oil than many of the world’s top oil-producing countries.

Although the regional economy has diversified over the past few decades, the energy sector still plays an outsized role in Eleventh District business activity. The Dallas Fed Energy Survey provides a timely assessment of oil and gas activity that is useful for understanding broader changes in regional and national economic conditions. Data are available at the end of each quarter, and the survey provides information unavailable elsewhere, including forward-looking indicators such as company outlooks and expected capital expenditures for the upcoming year.

A rotating set of special questions each quarter provides valuable data on topics such as breakeven prices, employment expectations and financing availability. Another unique aspect of the Dallas Fed Energy Survey is its coverage of many small and independent energy companies.

Related Articles

More energy-related research from the Dallas Fed can be found at: www.dallasfed.org/research/economy/research/energy/energy.

Other Fed Surveys

Notes

  1. Energy Information Administration.

Questions regarding the Dallas Fed Energy Survey can be addressed to Michael Plante at Michael.Plante@dal.frb.org or Kunal Patel at Kunal.Patel@dal.frb.org.

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