You don’t have to be in the oil and gas business to know that the last two years have been brutal. The sell-off in oil markets that began in 2014 saw the price of crude fall from about $100 per barrel to a low of $26 last winter, before a modest rebound to $44 now. At the same time, natural gas prices fell to their lowest level since 1999 during the unusually warm winter of 2015-2016. As a result, dozens of companies have filed for bankruptcy, tens of thousands of workers have lost energy-related jobs, and manufacturers that make drilling equipment and related gear have seen their sales slump.
But there are finally signs of better days ahead. No, the energy industry isn’t going to suddenly return to the boom times it enjoyed up until 2014. But the worst appears to be over.