Regional News: Oil surge reshapes life in New Mexico

By Dan McKay | Albuquerque Journal

 
Carlsbad has ballooned to nearly triple its normal size since 2012. Roughly 75,000 people now live in the city, though the proliferation of RV parks and dormitory-style man camps makes estimating difficult.

For a few months this year, David Davidson spent his days in an oil field, his nights in an RV park.

Twelve hours from home, he oversaw the installation of pipeline in the Permian Basin and lived out of a 36-foot recreational vehicle.

An unprecedented oil boom in southeastern New Mexico brought him – along with tens of thousands of roughnecks, roustabouts, executives, educators, waiters and construction workers. They arrived so fast there aren’t enough homes.

Pickup trucks fill hotel parking lots, and traffic backups can be measured in miles.

Drivers call one road “Death Highway.”

This is life in a New Mexico boomtown, where the nation’s fastest-growing region of oil production is creating wealth, straining public services and reshaping families.

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