Energy policy expert says oil slump is a 'bust' James Fenton,

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  1. bluewill67

    bluewill67 Rookie

    Sep 12, 2015
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    "FARMINGTON — It's officially a "bust."

    That's the verdict from Daniel Fine, one of Gov. Susana Martinez's senior advisers on energy policy. The U.S. oil and gas industry — and the San Juan Basin — is in a "bust" period, Fine said Tuesday at an inter-tribal energy conference at San Juan College's School of Energy.

    "This is what a bust is. You lose the workforce," said Fine, who is associate director at New Mexico Center for Energy Policy at New Mexico Tech. "Loss to the country and to the Southwest will be the workforce. It will be decimated at levels of less than $30 a barrel (of crude oil)."

    And 2015 was a year of layoffs and cutbacks.

    Since the collapse of oil prices on the commodities market in fall of 2014, the number of workers laid off from local oil and gas companies — from the large corporations to the smaller independents — has been in the thousands.

    "We're in a 'bust.' So be ahead of the curve, and think ahead in this business by at least six months," Fine told the Native American and non-tribal energy leaders and business people in the Merrion conference room at the new $15.8 million school.

    He said looming federal regulations such as the the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's proposed Onshore Oil and Gas Orders Nos. 3, 4 and 5 along with proposed updates to its rule aimed at reducing "fugitive" atmospheric methane from oil and gas operations were doubling the pain already caused by low crude oil prices. He said that a third of all U.S. oil and gas producers — especially those burdened with debt — will inevitably go bankrupt.

    But Fine's sobering analysis wasn't without one ray of hope for the industry."

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