Midland familiar with effects of oil downturn

Midland familiar with effects of oil downturn

MIDLAND-ODESSA, TX (KWES) - The Permian Basin is experiencing about half of the price per barrel of crude oil compared to just a couple of years ago.

Midland Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Bobby Burns said, "This economy really is driven by the price of oil and gas. Always has been and probably always will be."

In 2015 the average price of a barrel of crude oil was $49 but the three years prior, the barrel average was above $90. The oil-downturn is something West Texas has seen before.

"Midland has this amazing history of adjusting and being very strong regardless of that price. I believe midland will continue to improve," said Burns.

Reports show housing in Midland is just as valuable as it was a year ago during the oil boom. Today, there are more housing options available.

"Because our housing is stabilizing, I think they'll find the housing that they may not have been able to find a year ago," said Broker Associate, Warren Ivey.

Burns does think there may be bankruptcies in 2016 but not as many as expected. He thinks the economy will stay strong and continue to grow.

"There is no doubt 2016 will be a down year or a slow year and certainly an adjustment year but as we look at the hotel and motel usage it is still very strong, The sales tax numbers are down from '14 but still very good," said Burns.

According to Burns, this year will allow city council to improve and lots of growth for schools in need. Housing will certainly be available for the new teachers needed.

"Because the price of housing is not continuing to escalate this will allow our non oil field employees, for example, our teachers and firefighters an opportunity to get into the housing market as well and purchase something for themselves," said Ivey.

Burns said many oil experts think prices could be back up between $50 and $60 mid 2016 but others aren't so optimistic.

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