Blogs » The nature of things » Oil for $50 a barrel? It could happen

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For the past year I've been reporting on the Eagle Ford Shale oil boom .

With oil prices hovering around $100 a barrel, most industry insiders were optimistic about the boom. Though shale wells are expensive to drill, with such high prices it was worth the cost to drill down, frack the Eagle Ford Shale formation and get that oil flowing.

But there was always a caveat - if oil ever dropped below $70, the companies would start getting shifty. If it dropped below $65, the oil boom would be over, the industry insiders told me time and again.

Back then, it seemed impossible that this would ever become an issue, but now with European finances in turmoil, tensions with Iran and a ton of other problems the people who study this stuff are saying oil might drop to $50 a barrel, Anne Myers Jaffe, an energy consultant, wrote in a guest column for the New York Times.

The Houston Chronicle reports that fracking services have seen a significant decline in the price of their services . After a storm of activity the past few years, there is a glut on the market and with dropping prices it doesn't pay to keep the fracking outfits on hand the way it once did.

In the Crossroads, we are in the midst of growth and development not seen in these parts for years, but, for many communities, it is growth chained to the price of oil.

Oracles used to look at innards to try and forecast the future. Luckily we have fleets of analysts out there who do that job, minus the innards and all.

Still, even with so many pairs of eyes peering into the nether, it's hard to say what will happen, but it's worth watching.

Back in the last big bust, in the 1980s, Victoria became a ghost town. Oil prices rise and fall based on a myriad of factors, so who knows if it will really happen, but history definitely teaches us that it's possible.