Low crude oil prices will not affect employment in the oil and gas sector – according to Ken Trevino, president/CEO of Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend. Speaking to the portal Eagle Ford Texas, Mr Trevino said that he was confident jobs in the area, ranging from those in the oil fields to those related to the hospitality industry, wouldn’t go away anytime soon, despite moves by some producers to scale back drilling and production.
“Even if drilling activity goes down, it does not seem to be going away totally,” Trevino said. “There will be some market adjustments along the way, but we are placing our hope in the substantial investments that have been made and that are still planned for our workforce area.”
The price of crude has halved over the last six months, recently slipping below $50 a barrel – a low unseen since April 2009. With most exploration companies needing the price to be between $80 and $100 a barrel to break even, the current drive is for scaling down production and selling off the more expensive shale plays.
Despite that, Omar Garcia, CEO of the South Texas Energy and Economic Roundtable is confident that hiring in energy should “remain steady” this year.
“Everyone is adjusting. This is a long-term (energy) play, and oil companies are committed to this region,” Garcia said. “This isn’t an investment they just going to walk away from.”
Not everybody is convinced, however. UTSA economics Professor Thomas Tunstall is concerned that the squeeze on the exploration companies may adversely affect employment.
“It’s almost certainly going to mean a decrease in the work force,” he told San Antonio Kens5 News.
This could potentially impact parts of south Texas, especially small towns in the Eagle Ford Shale where populations doubled as a result of oil and gas activity. San Antonio, however, with its strong corporate presence in the fields of aerospace and biotech, should be able to absorb the economic blow of low oil prices.
“We didn’t see huge impacts here in San Antonio when things were much more active than they are likely to be this year,” he said.
On Tuesday, the company U.S. Steel Corp. announced it was going to shut down its plants in Ohio & Texas laying off about 756 workers.
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