Don’t count out the oil and gas industry just yet

Galliano airport booming: Facility setting records for passengers
September 27, 2017
It’s who we are and it’s what we do
September 27, 2017
Galliano airport booming: Facility setting records for passengers
September 27, 2017
It’s who we are and it’s what we do
September 27, 2017

The price of oil is closer to $30/barrel than it is $100/barrel.

That’s a problem for everyone who calls the Houma-Thibodaux area home.

The oil and gas industry is humongous in this community and literally every, single business is affected by it – whether we realize it or not.

Of course, there are the direct affects. Thousands of men and women work in industries in the field. As work slows, those businesses make less money. As businesses make less money, sometimes they need fewer employees, which causes layoffs, which affects the workforce and how much money people make.

But how about the indirect affects?

As people make less money, they spend less, too. That means that the night out at the movie theater a young couple used to make twice a month may now turn into a TV dinner date at home. That affects the movie theater’s bottom line – especially if 100 other couples do the same.

That means that the grocery bills people make may be cheaper. That affects grocery stores.

That means that instead of buying a new car when an old one gets to 150,000 miles, a person may be more inclined to squeeze an extra 15,000 or 20,000 miles out of what he/she currently has. That affects car dealerships.

And all of this affects the area as a whole, because as less money is spent, fewer taxes are paid, which limits the amount of community-related projects that can be done in our area.

OK, enough of the economics and civics lesson and back to the point.

The oil and gas industry has been in a prolonged funk for several years now, and folks we’ve spoken to throughout the past few weeks don’t have concrete answers about when it’s all going to end.

Neither do I, but when in times of crisis, I’ve been taught to look to history to see how similar situations have been remedied in the past.

By doing that, I can safely say that now is not the time to count out the oil and gas industry locally – not by a long shot.

This isn’t the first downturn the industry has had, and it won’t be the last.

I wasn’t around at this time, but people far older and smarter than me tell me that the industry bottomed out in the 1980s and many other times in our history.

But it came back – better than before.

And I believe it will do so again.

Right now, there’s a glut of oil on the market, which is lowering prices and causing anxiety for everyone locally.

I’m no global oil genius, but people who know how the industry works tell me that these things have ebbs and flows and it won’t be this way forever.

We may have a few more rough months to endure, but I have faith that the industry will get back to where it was before.

But while waiting, now is a good time for our local lawmakers and bright minds to get together and try and find ways to diversify the local economy so that when things get tough, we don’t have all of our eggs in one basket.

This is a unique place filled with unique people. Surely, we have assets and skills that can be beneficial to other markets.

We just have to find them, invest in them and make it work.

But we still need oil and gas, too, of course.

I’m not giving up yet on a bigger and brighter industry, and neither should you.

Brighter days are ahead.

History tells us what goes down always comes back up again. •

Oil work

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