MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - It's no secret the oil industry is slowing down. Some fear it's happening faster than the oil bust back in the 1980's but NewsWest 9 found out that's not the case.
An expert on the oil industry said that the price of oil has plunged almost 50% in the last year. But the current decline is no comparison to the 1986 bust, when the price of a barrel dropped to just $8.00.
"It's not near as fast or as hard a drop, long a drop, as it was in the 1980's. People always overreact to what is happening," said oil industry expert, Morris Burns.
He broke down the numbers of the current decline.
"A year ago, we were at about $60.00. Now, we're about $35.00. Actually, just looking here, it's $33.00. It's gone down $2.00 just today. It's gone down about $4.00 or $5.00 in the last two days," said Burns.
He predicts oil prices shouldn't take another drop.
"There are people saying that it's going to go to $20.00. I really don't think that it will go to $20.00 because we are so close to imperative between production and consumption. We should be near the bottom," said Burns.
He said that doesn't mean it wont take some time for things to level back out.
"If it doesn't balance out in the next two or three months, it will be summertime before it would likely balance out again," said Burns.
He explained that in the summer of 2008, the price of a barrel reached $137.00 and then just a short time later, in January of 2009, that price dropped at the way down to $37.00. Burns says that's part of what's to blame for the current decline.
"We have almost doubled the amount of oil we are producing in the Permian Basin since 2008 and this is part of the problem," said Burns.
Burns said drastic increase and decrease is just the nature of the oil industry.
It would make a great ride at Six Flags. Every kid in town would want to ride on it because it's up and down. Up and down," said Burns.
Burns said there's no need to be too worried.
"It always comes back up," said Burns.
The Permian Basin is the largest on shore producer of oil in the United States. Burns says right now the rig count in the Permian Basin is a third of what it was just two years ago.