Falling gasoline prices fuel more layoffs

Falling gasoline prices fuel more layoffs
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Lower gas prices mean more layoffs for oil and gas workers, according to industry leaders.

Gone are the days when most drivers would shop around and compare prices at the pump. With prices hovering just over the $2 mark in the Baton Rouge Metro area, some drivers have a hard time believing they once paid significantly more.

"I've been surprised that they've stayed as low as they have this summer. I remember the days of like $4 a gallon," Tammera Welsh said.

"It's better, a lot better," Lataja Parker said.

"As a customer, I want it to be low. I can't complain," German Suaco said.

The prices have become so reasonable, some drivers admit they have taken their eyes off the pump.

"I don't pay that much attention to it. I know they are cheap right now. So that's a good thing for everybody," Ernie Wroten said.

People who work in the oil and gas industry said the relief customers experience at the pump reflects tougher times for them. Camille Ivy-O'Donnell, Government and Media Affairs Coordinator for the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, is one of them.

"It has impacted my family directly, and we have had many members impacted by the lower prices," Ivy-O'Donnell said.

Shell has announced plans to cut 6,500 jobs worldwide. According to online newspaper, NOLA.com, employees and contractors in New Orleans were told in earlier August that Shell is planning a 30 percent cut to its local workforce by November. Chevron has also reported it intends to make cuts.

Ivy-O'Donnell said there is simply too much gasoline around the globe.

"The OPEC nations have not decreased production while production in the U.S. has actually increased, nearly doubled in the last two to three years. In Louisiana, to bring it home a little, we've gone from 115 to 78 rigs," Ivy-O'Donnell said.

Ivy-O'Donnell said some analysts predict prices could fall even more before the industry rebounds. On the flip side, LOGA leaders said they are confident the industry will recover.

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