• 73°

Rising oil prices spur interest in putting rigs back in production

NEW ORLEANS — Rising oil prices are getting more rigs back in operation, a New Orleans economics professor said.

UNO professor Walter “Dub” Lane, who spoke to WWL news radio in New Orleans, said if oil prices hold steady above the $60 level, it means growth for the Louisiana oil industry.

“In the range of the 60-dollars or so a barrel, I think we’re back up to a sustainable level,”  Lane said. “If we go above that, then we go into a growth mode.”

For the last two weeks, oil has been selling for $65 a barrel. Oil was as low as $42 a barrel last June and dropped to as low as $26 a barrel in 2016.

Lane said the current level may be cause for optimism for the state’s economy and could help state lawmakers as they struggle to deal with a budget shortfall.

“It’s a small positive,” Lane told WWL. “It’s not enough to dig us out of the hole we’re in, or even the one that was left after the growth we’ve had from other things, but it will be a small positive.”