May 28, 2015 Articles

What Does the Plummet in Oil Prices Mean for Litigators?

New hotbeds of litigation may emerge from "Oilpocalypse"

By Nicole Ruble Metcalf

Gone are the days of $100 oil. Presently, prices are settling in anywhere from $45 to around $50 per barrel, depending on the price index consulted, with field prices in some areas even lower. Industry experts are making predictions all across the board as to where prices are headed in the coming week, months, and years, with some saying as low as $20 per barrel, and some optimists (some may call them delusional) predicting a spike as high as $200 per barrel. What these wide-ranging predictions are telling the market is that no one really knows what the future holds and that uncertainty has led to a wave of change and adjustment. With the coming of “Oilpocalypse,” the inevitable reports of mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies, asset sales, and layoffs are beginning to accumulate. Halliburton is reportedly selling off its billion-dollar drilling business units to sustain its acquisition of Baker Hughes, and it is anticipated that the price fetched will be much less with oil prices holding steady where they are. Forbes recently reported that over 75,000 layoffs have occurred in the oil and gas industry and that the numbers are expected to continue to climb.

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