Bloomberg Businessweek

Heat and Dust, But Also Free Wi-Fi

Man camps on the Permian Basin are splurging on creature comforts as the battle for oilfield personnel heats up
Permian Lodging’s camp near Pecos, Texas

There’s not much to look at except dirt, mesquite, and sagebrush around the 10 acres of flat, almost treeless land near Goldsmith, Texas, where Aries Residence Suites runs a housing complex used by itinerant oil workers. Three years ago, all 188 rooms were as empty as the landscape—a testament to crude’s tumble from more than $100 a barrel to $30. Today, prices are up to around $70 and almost every Aries bed is occupied, just as at many other “man camps” throughout West Texas.

The Permian Basin, a more than 75,000-square-mile expanse of sedimentary rock that straddles Texas and New Mexico, is drawing billions of dollars in new investment from Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP, and others. Oil production

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