Experts say plunging oil prices putting thousands more Oklahoma jobs at risk

Erin Beu | KOCO Tulsa

Mike Fielder was laid off from his energy-sector job before the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic hit.

“It’s never a good feeling to get laid off,” Fielder said.

He told KOCO 5 that the oil and gas industry has been hurting for a while, but he never expected the price to drop into the negatives per barrel.

“It was the same thing — lower oil prices, lower gas prices,” Fielder said. “It doesn’t make sense. Can I go sell my gas to somebody?”

But all joking aside, Fielder said the situation is dangerously bad for Oklahoma’s economy.

“You’re just facing layoffs everywhere,” he said.

Another man, who didn’t want to be identified, said six people at his small energy company were let go or furloughed as soon as the virus hit Oklahoma. Now that the price of oil is dropping so low, he knows there’s more layoffs coming.

He just prays he’s not next.

Dewey Bartlett, chairman of the Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance, said 10,000 to 20,000 Oklahomans are predicted to lose their jobs in the next few months because of the pandemic and the low prices.

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