A year and a half after the first case of COVID-19 was discovered in Oklahoma, economists the state’s energy industry is once again on stable footing.
“We still haven’t fully recovered although we are on a recovery path right now,” Oklahoma City University Meinders School of Business Dean Emeritus Steve Agee said.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil has surpassed pre-pandemic prices now at more than $70 per barrel and natural gas prices over $5 MMBtu (Metric Million British Thermal Unit).
“Everything about this is positive, for the producer, for the royalty owner, for the state in terms of revenue,” Agee said. “Now, you and I are going to pay a little bit higher prices at the gasoline pump. We may pay a little higher price for natural gas, but overall, the impact on the economy is good.”
The question of how long those prices hold, Agee said, will depend on the economy continuing to recover and energy producers not jumping the gun.
“I think as long as the U.S. producers maintain some stability in their production and don’t really necessarily go out and start drilling a whole bunch of wells and ramp up production, things will stay pretty steady for a while,” Agee said.
While things are looking up for Oklahoma's oil and gas producers, Agee said we've learned all too well over the past year how quick things can change.
“We can keep our fingers crossed that the worst is behind us,” Agee said. “I think a lot of the worst is behind us, but we have these new variants, the Delta variant. There’s other variants out there.”
Agee said the best thing we can all do to protect ourselves and our economy is to get vaccinated.