Boom, gone


The boom/bust cycle happens quite often in history with different industries (“The Winter of Oil’s Discontent,” HCN, 3/16/15). For example, in the 1940s, ’50s and early ’60s, it was uranium. We had various oil boom/busts from the ’40s to the present. We had natural gas boom/busts, with the most recent one going from the ’90s and dying around 2009. It kind of stayed alive; however, once the price of oil went bust, many natural gas companies used that as an excuse to cut back even further.

As a whole, the boom/busts are driven by prices going up or coming down. Unless the price comes back up quickly, it will be a long, long drought if you work in the energy industry. High-level company people are saying they are hoping the price comes back in a matter of months, but they expect it to be down for many years, which will pretty much decimate the energy industry jobs. There will be spurts of activity here and there, but as a whole, it’s gone. You could say that the “free market” has done more to slow down/stop the energy industry drilling than all the lawsuits and billions of dollars spent by various environmental groups.

What hurts is all the higher-paid men and women supporting their families, who, after being laid off, lose their homes, cars, etc., and end up getting jobs that pay half or less of what they were making. Someday down the road, the energy boom will crank up again, and a whole new generation of men and women and their families will have to live the boom-then-bust cycle again.

Robert Gates
Pinedale, Wyoming

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