Mayhall Fondren Blaize

Oil and gas law analysts have muted optimism for industry growth

The year ended with oil prices in Louisiana being around the $60 per barrel mark, which was a high point for prices within the past several years. However, the growth is not sustained enough to clearly say that significant drilling for oil will start up in the state this year. A glut of cheaper shale-derived products could flood into the market causing another reduction in prices.

Experts predict that the current price increase will set off a rush to produce oil from shale, thus once again bringing down prices. The current administration in Washington recently announced a plan to open nearly all offshore coastal waters for energy development. Basically, the plan would open most of the eastern Gulf to leasing for oil exploration for the first time since 1988.

Louisiana lawmakers praised the new plan as an economic boon to the area. As  usual, however, battles loomed ahead as environmental groups attacked the plan, indicating decisive legal challenges. There is also the issue of whether water-based explorations will pick up in the face of the trend to move explorations inland. The key word given to the current situation by one expert analyst is that of "very restrained" optimism. 

Louisiana oil and gas law experts see a possible increase in business for companies in the state even if exploration trends to offshore areas outside the Gulf itself.  Some analysts are also predicting a general price correction, therefore also keeping prospects for the future under guarded expectations. Generally, the trend right now is slowly upwards, with the prospects for increased business on the part of Louisiana companies looking good. With increased leasing activities, oil and gas legal professionals will also be in greater demand.  

Source:, "After ending year at $60 a barrel, Louisiana's oil industry feeling 'very restrained optimism'", Richard Thompson, Jan. 6, 2018

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