While oil prices rise, confidence remains low
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