Low oil price has Vancouver Island’s oil patch workers worried

Low oil price has Vancouver Island's oil patch workers worried
WatchCanada's oil patch workers, who call Vancouver Island home, say they are worried about the record low oil price 

A number of oil sands workers, who live on Vancouver Island, are feeling worried about the future of their jobs.

Some are concerned about contracting COVID-19 at camp while others fear for the health of the industry itself. Yesterday for the first time, the oil price on futures market trading in negative territory.

“Twenty-six years in the industry. [I’ve] never seen it this bad yet,” said Murray Zayik, a Parksville resident and oil patch worker.

“Well with the situation it kind of makes sense with everything that’s going on with the economy,” said Robin Berekoff, a Duncan resident and oil patch worker.

Oil hit a record close Monday at below zero.

A Nanaimo financial planner said the price of oil fared a little better Tuesday.

“The oil futures just reset so now they’re taking delivery for June contracts. Those June contracts were down very negatively today but they’re now in the positive realm which is good but we’re at such an oversupply right now. We have so much supply and so little demand because of the way COVID has affected everybody,” said David LeNeveu, an Investment Advisor with Rockmoor Wealth Management.

Leneveu said the oversupply is impacting Canada’s oil producers.

“You’re seeing this in the United States right now. You’re going to see bankruptcies increase from firms all across North America. The well-capitalized ones will still be able to operate. That means guys who have a lot of cash on hand or have a lot of lending capacity but you could see a major impact and that’s going to trickle down to the workers first,” LeNeveu said.

A number of oil patch workers on Vancouver Island say they’re trying to remain optimistic they’ll be able to work through the pandemic.

“Pretty sure they can weather through a few years before it becomes a real issue,” said Berekoff. “They’ll tough it out cause they’ve been doing pretty good for quite a few years.”

“It’s hard to say what our industry is going to do. If we’re going to stay busy or shut down oil,” said Zayik.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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