- Associated Press - Saturday, January 2, 2016

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - Stakeholders in New Mexico’s oil and gas industry, particularly in Eddy County, are bracing for where crude oil prices will land in this new year.

The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association says the state had a record producing year but a drop in prices in 2015 had many wondering if it was the end of a boom, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported (https://bit.ly/1ODhQ7Y).

In the past year, oil has dropped to a seven-year low and a 40-year-old oil export ban was lifted.

Association spokesman Wally Drangmeister says federal agencies are reviewing multiple new regulations for New Mexico and the Carlsbad area specifically.

Drangmeister says the regulations may lead to greater operating costs.

“Most of the production areas in the state are on federal lands, and our concern with these proposed changes is that it could increase operating costs, which could cause the shut-down of wells and a slow-down in production,” he said.

Carlsbad officials say this year’s budget is based on oil revenue from last year. Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway said economic diversity will help the city in 2016.

“The number of business permit filings and our gross receipts tax income remained high, even long after oil prices dropped,” Janway said.

Newly-elected Eddy County Commission Chair Royce Pearson says oil prices are tied to county and state revenue.

“We will just have to wait and see what the numbers are and adjust our budget,” he said. “It (oil prices) will be back, it’s just a matter when.”

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Information from: Carlsbad Current-Argus, https://www.currentargus.com/

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