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Eagle Ford Minute Jan 9

US Steel Manufacturing Plant Idles and Boom-towns Await Layoffs

The collapse of oil prices in the past six months is threatening to end a recent industrial revival in manufacturing . The U.S. shale-drilling boom lifted Midwest manufacturing economies, enriched property owners with mineral rights and even brought back the fat blue-collar paychecks that once were harder to find. The U.S. Steel Corp. plant in Lorain, OH, which depends heavily on oil and gas companies to buy its steel pipe and tubes, warned on Monday it might have to idle the plant in March and lay off 614 of the plant’s 700 workers.

The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker, the second-biggest employer in Lorain after Mercy Regional Medical Center, had recently invested $95 million in a plant upgrade. When energy prices were high and orders robust, workers received generous overtime, sometimes pushing annual salaries into six figures. The impact of the energy industry here is so widespread that for some workers in Lorain, oil prices affect almost every facet of their lives, from home values to roads to jobs. Read More

Just two years ago, this Texas town known mostly for its annual rattlesnake roundup seemed to be on the brink of a transformation.

Expecting a huge influx of oil workers, Sweetwater Texas leaders spent tens of millions of dollars to improve the courthouse, build a new law-enforcement center and upgrade the hospital. Hotels, truck stops and housing subdivisions were to follow, all catering to truck drivers and roughnecks. Sweetwater envisioned becoming a major player in the hydraulic-fracturing boom.

But those ambitions are fading fast as the plummeting price of oil causes investors to pull back, cutting off the projects that were supposed to pay for a bright new future. Now the town of 11,000 awaits layoffs and budget cuts and defers its dreams. Devon, the largest leaseholder in the Cline, started letting its leases expire in September. Industry observers say what’s happening in the Cline signals a contraction in shale development nationwide. Read More

For more information visit nobullradio.com This is Randy Watson of the No Bull Radio Network reporting the Eagle Ford Minute from the KCAF 92.1 studio in Kenedy Texas.

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Updated: January 9, 2015 — 9:07 am
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