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Rumors of Possible "Bust" Dispelled By Housing, Oil & Gas Experts

By Alicia Neaves
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN - The Oil Show has officially wrapped up in Odessa but are there talks of a bust in the near future? NewsWest 9 investigated the economic outlook for the next few years.

Many who attended the oil show were speaking of an end to the economic boom or a bust on our horizon. So we set out to talk with the experts to see their projections of our oil and housing economy these next few years.

"It's a normal year, and we don't have very many normal years anymore because there's always something going on," Oil and gas expert, Morris Burns, said.

Experts say in a normal year, the price of oil dips in the spring and fall and rises back up in mid-summer or mid-winter. Sometimes natural disasters in the Gulf, even revolutions in countries like Libya or Nigeria make prices fluctuate. But not this year. A bust isn't on the horizon anytime soon.

"We don't have any excess capacity that can drive that type of a price drop. So this is going to be different than the other huge busts that we've been through," Burns said.

It's no secret, the Basin has picked up tremendous slack.

In 1972, we produced 2.2 million barrels of oil a day. In 2008, it dipped to 900,000. This year, it's climbed back to 1.6 million barrels.

"Sit back. Be cool. It's going to recover," Burns said.

As we know, more oil demands more housing.

"I think we're pretty much building as fast as we can put houses in the air," Wayne Dunson, President of the Odessa Board of Realtors, said.

Economists at A&M say a healthy economy means a house on the market for six months on average. In Ector County, the average is 2.6 months.

"As long as the energy sector stays strong and the economy keeps going the way it's been going, I would anticipate at some point that we would have built enough in the next three years to start catching up with demand," Dunson said.

Although realtors don't anticipate any major swing in housing demand or prices in the near future, their aim is to keep newcomers here. Boom or bust.

"Get them moved in here. Get them settled in and get them to be a part of the town so that if things do slow down, they're still gonna stay here," Dunson said.
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