by Victor Lopez
MIDLAND--You'll remember him for many different things, but the fact is you remember him. Clayton Williams Jr., was on hand at the Petroleum Club in Midland on Thursday, talking about everything from growing up in West Texas to the current state of the economy.
Williams is certainly no stranger to Midland and it's much like the old TV commercial says, when he talks, people listen. Especially when he's talking about oil.
"It's like bad news keeps falling everyday. The prices going down. More gas is coming. Nothing but bad news," Williams said.
The Fort Stockton native admits the oil industry is in a serious situation, but through it all, he manages to keep his sense of humor about him, "We may be like the old rancher and the drought, who hadn't had rain in ten years. He got rained on, he passed out so they had to get a bucket of dust and throw it in his face to revive him," Williams joked.
This staunch Republican makes no attempt to hide his reactions to recent elections, "It seems to me like they're almost moving, that's the liberal Democrats, to nationalize the oil business using taxes instead of saying, we're going to nationalize the taxes out of business."
But he also sees there's trouble ahead, for everyone, "We've got some real bumps in the road, and I don't see them all from the Obama administration."
Faced with a potential bust, Williams says there's a difference between now and the bust we saw in the 1980's and the effect it could have world wide, "This is different than the '80's. In the 80's, we had the slowdown in the Midwest, oil went to hell. But we didn't have the whole world going to hell at the same time. Which tells you how interconnected the world is."
When asked what he thought of the oil situation right now, Williams fell back to his wit, "I plan to go to the bar at 5:30 this afternoon. You call me at seven, maybe I'll have an answer."
Williams says if the price of oil keeps dropping, companies will surely have to start making cutbacks, including his. Even though he doesn't anticipate any layoffs anytime soon, he says it's something to get ready for in the future.