Value of West Texas oil lands plunging amid virus pandemic

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Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 11:13 AM CST
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Oil prices are down this year which means oilfield properties are suffering too. Property values in basins all over the country have shrunk down nine times what they were just a few years ago.

They’ve plummeted all because of, you guessed it, the coronavirus.

Fewer people traveling and using energy, so oil prices have taken a nosedive throughout 2020. That, in turn, makes oilfield properties a tough sell.

“People aren’t as aggressive,” Eli Huffman, a land broker and attorney at Houston-based Lone Star Production said “They can’t drill as many wells. It doesn’t make as much business sense.”

Huffman said there’s properties that were worth $10,000 per acre a few years ago have dwindled down to only $1,000 per acre

Although oilfield properties have been devalued all over the country, the Permian Basin is still the most cush spot to buy because we have the richest oil deposits.

Property owners out here know that, so Huffman said most are going to sit tight and wait for prices to rise again rather than sell their lots now.

“Unless the seller is stressed or they need to get rid of an asset, fix their balance sheet or do whatever is appropriate for them, they’re not selling at the prices that are being offered. So there’s not a lot of movement.”

So, where does that leave the employees who work on the rigs?

Oilfield layoffs have been mounting all year, but Huffman said if you survived this long, you should keep your chin up.

“That means a lot of people in the insistent respect your skills and what you’re providing,” he said. “If you can just keep doing a good job, then you’re going to be able to stay employed, keep your company afloat.”

So, what now?

Huffman told me property values won’t go back up until we the virus under control, but he expects a strong bounce back in two to five years.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.