Record low oil, gas prices concern industry experts

Oil prices broke below $50 a barrel Monday, skidding down $2.65 before climbing back to close at $50.04 a barrel.

It's the first time in five years oil prices have plummeted so low, and concerns are rising in the Texas oil industry as it braces for the inevitable -- job cuts.

Chris Faulkner is the founder, president and CEO of Breitling Energy and warns low prices at the pump mean pain for an industry that directly and indirectly supports 9 to 10 million jobs. 

"This industry is definitely gonna have to retool in order to continue to have the energy renaissance  that's been taking place the  last six or seven years at a price of oil now  that's been half of what it was just in July," said Faulkner.

"With prices seeming to be in a freefall, that's not good news for the state of Texas," said Bud Weinstein, Associate Director of SMU Cox Maguire Energy Institute.  

And as state lawmakers prepare to convene, there's talk of even tighter reigns on state spending because of anticipated drops in taxes on oil and gas production and sales tax receipts.

"Well, in a sense, we're a victim of our own success," said Weinstein.

There's been a huge increase of domestic oil production within the last three years.

Around the world, demand for oil has not significantly increased, and global oil production remains at the same levels.

Experts say there's an excess between 1 and 2 million barrels of oil every day on the global market.  

"So we've got a mismatch between supply and demand," said Weinstein.

Attorney Israel Silvas practices oil and gas litigation.

"It's gonna get to a point where it's not inexpensive to drill anymore, and that is gonna halt production at some level," said Silvas.

"We're in for some pretty tough times here in the state of Texas unless, miraculously, there's a quick rebound in oil prices, and frankly, I don't see that happening," said Weinstein.

Some are even suggesting now that we could see the price of oil go down to around $40 a barrel.

While that will mean people will have more money to spend in other areas of the economy, those kinds of prices won't be good for the oil industry -- especially some of the smaller oil companies.


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