While oil prices rise, con­fi­dence re­mains low

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Pa­trick Ko­lafa

While it ap­pears that oil prices are slowly creep­ing up, it is too soon to say whether prices are on the re­bound.

Last week the price of a bar­rel of oil topped the $50, mark, and is cur­rently hov­er­ing at about the $49 mark. While $50 oil rep­re­sents a bit of moral vic­tory, it might not be enough to turn the tide.

Don­ald Wil­son of Don­ald Wil­son Ser­vices, says sta­bil­ity is more im­por­tant than ris­ing prices.

“It’s prob­a­bly pos­i­tive, but they need some sta­bil­ity at $50 not just one day,” he says. “I think it is go­ing to get worse be­fore it gets bet­ter. There are a lot of com­pa­nies out there that do their bud­gets in the fall. If they miss do­ing the bud­get in the fall, it will be an­other year. I think they would want se­cu­rity by fall.”

He still had grave con­cerns for the in­dus­try, and he has been in the in­dus­try for many years.

"It is go­ing to take a long time for it to come around. This is the worst I have ever seen,” he said adding in his es­ti­ma­tion it is worse than the down­turn in the early 1980’s. “This one feels dif­fer­ent, but all you can do is hold on and hope for the best. You have to be pos­i­tive.”

One pos­i­tive of Drumheller’s re­source in­dus­try is that it is based on ser­vice, which means there still is some work.

“It is just not in those big num­bers it used to be,” said Wil­son. “I think some peo­ple had that high ex­pec­ta­tion, I think it will be more con­ser­va­tive.”

He adds that there needs to be some di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion.

“It is the right place to go, it is just the speed that you are go­ing to get there. You can’t ex­pect peo­ple to go green in two days,” he said.

Pres­i­dent of the Drumheller and District Cham­ber of Com­merce Shel­ley Ry­mal sees the strug­gle many com­pa­nies have had in the val­ley since the down­turn.

She hopes the oil reach­ing $50 is pos­i­tive.

“It’s go­ing in the right di­rec­tion, I hope that it will bring some peo­ple work in the area,” she said.

She says the slow­down af- fects all in­dus­tries in the area.

‘It is a trickle down ef­fect. If peo­ple aren’t work­ing they are not spend­ing their money in the com­mu­nity,” said Ry­mal. “Peo­ple are a lit­tle more cau­tious on how they are spend­ing money.’

She also ob­serves that it is im­por­tant to di­ver­sify.

“This does open the door for some other sec­tors to come for­ward, like tourism,” she said. “A dol­lar in tourism touches seven peo­ple. It is mak­ing us look at di­ver­si­fy­ing our lo­cal econ­omy.”

I think it is go­ing to get worse be­fore it gets bet­ter... This is the worst I have ever seen. Don­ald Wil­son, oil­field ser­vices com­pany owner

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