How COVID-19 outbreak is affecting Texas' oil industry

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Futures for oil are falling and the sudden drop is going to have a serious impact in Houston as the oil industry makes up about 10 percent of the economy in Texas.

Oil prices collapsed because global demand has dried up and oil production still has not been cut to match that decrease in demand.

With prices falling overnight, the long-term worry is that smaller oil companies could be forced to shut their doors, causing thousands of people to lose their jobs.

"I don't think the pain in the industry is short term. I do think the oil and gas businesses, (are) getting hit really hard," energy industry expert Cliff Vrielink said. "You know prices at around $20 a barrel are not economic. So, a lot of most businesses are going to struggle to keep the doors open at $20 a barrel."

However, if the global shutdowns are lifted and demand returns, things could get better for oil companies. But no one knows how long that will take.

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