An 11-part podcast series from Texas Monthly and Imperative Entertainment.

Photograph by Nick Simonite

In a rugged corner of West Texas, billionaire wildcatters and roughnecks are fueling an oil boom so big it’s reshaping our climate, our economy, and our geopolitics.

Boomtown is an eleven-part podcast series from Texas Monthly and Imperative Entertainment, with new episodes publishing every Tuesday starting December 10, 2019. Find the latest episode here, or dive deep into the Texas Monthly archives to read more about the Permian Basin and the Texas oil industry.

Boomtown, Episode 11: The Last Frontier

Record-breaking oil production in the Permian Basin has brought the boom to the Big Bend's doorstep for the first time. Is it too late to save this pristine landscape?

big bend last frontier


boomtown prostitution trafficking
Boomtown, Episode 6: A Thin Line

Jan 14, 2020 By Christian Wallace

During booms, the Permian Basin sees a rise in prostitution charges. But misperceptions and stereotypes about sex work have led to policies that may actually harm the women involved.

Wildcatters, Roughnecks, and Boll Weevils

Learning to Roughneck

Mar 4, 2015 By Christian Wallace

Growing up in the Permian Basin, I thought I had a sense of what it was like working the oilfields. Turns out I didn’t know a damn thing.

Pickens, photographed outside Pampa, July 2008.
There Will Be Boone

Sep 1, 2008 By Skip Hollandsworth

Our most iconic oil and gas man, lately a water marauder and now a celebrated windcatter, has saved himself a couple of times in his eighty glorious years. Who’s to say he can’t save America?


That’s Oil, Folks!

Jan 20, 2013 By Skip Hollandsworth

Forget the Outer Continental Shelf. There’s a good old-fashioned boom happening in Midland, thanks to a crafty drilling technique that unlocked the secret reserves of the Permian Basin and revived the late, great West Texas oilman.


Life After Oil

Jan 20, 2013 By Paul Burka

Midland’s energy companies are still laying people off a decade after the bottom of the bust. But—surprise—the city’s economy is booming again.



Deepwater Horizon explosion

Sep 21, 2016 By Loren Steffy

Four years after his indictment, one of the only people prosecuted for the Deepwater Horizon explosion tells his side of the story.

Oil and Water

Jan 20, 2013 By Helen Thorpe

Offshore drillers are finding mammoth reservoirs in places that were once considered barren, which is why the Gulf of Mexico is booming again.