Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Louisiana could feel effects of struggling oil & gas industry

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BATON ROUGE - With coronavirus fears tanking oil prices, Louisiana's oil and gas industry is also a bit concerned.

Monday, Saudi Arabia slashed prices and increased production, causing a plunge in the oil market. This could mean a 10-cent drop in price at the pump. 

"As prices go down, there's less investment in drilling. As there's less investment in drilling, both onshore and offshore, there are significantly fewer service companies and significantly fewer people working with those service companies," said Gifford Briggs, with the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association.

Briggs says the short-term drop in energy prices can be very unsettling for employers across the state.

"For the state's economy, the state's budget, for jobs and investment... It's very difficult. And low-energy prices reduce the amount of money that flows in our state general fund. This means less money for healthcare and education and infrastructure."

He says if the state continues to see prolonged low energy prices, we can expect to see a major impact on the job market in south Louisiana.

"This is very concerning for our industry, very concerning for Louisiana's economy, and very concerning for our state budget."

Even though the growing fears of the coronavirus outbreak is causing a threat to the global economy, Briggs says he's confident that Louisiana's energy industry will remain resilient.

"We will get through it as we have before. The more pressing decision is, 'how is this going to impact the legislative process?'"


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