A few years ago I went to a fracking conference in Cleveland that talked about how the oil and gas industry was booming in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Some big names were in attendance and many predictions were made about the millions that residents who leased their land were making and would make.
The next year I went on a camping trip and stopped in southwest Pennsylvania on my way to West Virginia and saw the boom first hand. There were hundreds of tank trucks and semi-trailers hauling equipment on the interstate and in the towns. And many of the towns we passed through had “help wanted” signs for truck drivers at street corners.
But then the price of oil dropped like a rock down a long empty oil well and now the fracking industry is in “survival mode“according to Shawn Bennett, president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. In January of 2016 the price per barrel of oil fell to $26 and the price per $1,000 cubic feet of natural gas, what Ohio mainly produces, has fallen to $2 which is below the cost of doing business for many producers.
Thankfully since January the price for a barrel of oil has gone up to $49.70 and natural has per 1000 cubic feet is up to $2.74. Quite a jump from earlier this year! And the Ohio Oil and Gas Association expects 2017 to be better than 2016.
So good luck to all the producers, drillers, and support staff in the area. The story of oil and gas in the US has always been boom and bust and it seems this is just the latest chapter. When we flip the page let’s hope for another boom!