Does cutting oil production mean jobs for Texans?

For the first time eight years, oil output has been slashed in the Middle East. Over the past two months, KHOU 11 News has been talking to industry experts alluding to an industry rebound here in Texas – but will it happen?

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) includes countries like Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. It’s mission statement is, “to coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its Member Countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers.”

Crude oil peaked over $100 per barrel in 2013. Now, fast forward to just last month, oil prices plunged below $40. The stock market rollercoaster drops off jobs at every low.

Mike Brown, is an unemployed industry worker with 38 years of experience in the field. “I’ve never had to look for a job so it’s been a little difficult,” said Brown. “I’m selling my house and I’m taking a lease on a house that’s a lot less.”

Texas Workforce Commission statistics show Brown is one of 19,600 oil workers who left the workforce from 2013 to July 2016.

“A lot of skilled people have left the industry and they’re probably not coming back,” said Brown.

Now, a new hope for Texas oil jobs, sort of. OPEC agreed to cut production by about one million barrels per day. But here’s the catch; that’s only about a 2% change worth about $35 million, market value. That money is a drop in the bucket because OPEC countries are producing more than $1.5 billion of oil per day, at current market value.

“Whatever the Saudi’s and OPEC are saying I take with a bit of trepidation,” said Brown.

There is hope for ‘big oil’ rebound. After the drop in production was announced, oil prices jumped more than 5% to $48 per barrel.

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