Low oil prices spark Colorado layoffs

Oil is in an all-out freefall, dropping from roughly $90 dollars a barrel at the end of 2014 to just more than $30 per barrel Tuesday. 9NEWS at 9 p.m. 01/12/16.

KUSA - Oil is in an all-out freefall, dropping from roughly $90 dollars a barrel at the end of 2014 to just more than $30 per barrel Tuesday. 



It's enough to make you wonder if the industry is starting to panic. 

Colorado Oil and Gas Association president and CEO Dan Haley said when commodities drop, challenges emerge. 

"You'll see some restructuring, you'll see some tightening of jobs," Haley said, adding that in 2015, about 2,000 people lost their jobs due to falling oil prices.

"We're not seeing the some of the layoffs we saw in Colorado in the 1980s, back then, but again we don't know where sorta where the bottom is," he said. 

Haley said oil field services is one of the the hardest-hit sectors.  In December 2014, 77 rigs were up and running.  As of last Friday, there were just 22. 

Will Fleckenstein is an adjunct professor at the Colorado School of Mines. He says students are worried. 

"Students are asking 'How long is this going to occur?'"

Fleckenstein said he recommends his students continue to look for ways to market themselves. 

"The advice I give to them is 'You have to be flexible,'"  he said.  "This is a big change as far as what they're expectations were compared to what the realty is.'"

Both Haley and Fleckenstein say the industry can be unpredictable, that's the rub when it comes to oil.  The question now: How much longer can the industry hold on?  

(© 2016 KUSA)


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