Friday, February 6, 2009

Texas tea

The negative headline reads like so many others we’ve seen lately.

“Martin Petroleum files layoff notice, just in case.”

The Pompano Beach company has filed notice with Florida that it may soon lay off 207 employees in March.

Across the country, many smaller and mid-size fuel-related oil companies are hurting less than a year after some companies posted record profits.

Flying J seems poised to shut down its Big West refinery in Bakersfield, CA, for good, just months after it prepared for a major expansion. Such a closure will mean hundreds of jobs lost. The Land Line story is available here.

One industry insider told me the Hook got caught with “wet barrels,” an industry term for oil bought for a price considerably higher than its current worth.

As 2008’s dramatic rise and fall of oil prices has taught us, prices we pay at the pump are set by many variables, including the futures market and manipulation by oil producers at the spigot, like OPEC.

Who knows what the coming year’s diesel/fuel prices will bring. Supply and demand will be closely tied to the economy, as will prices.

For Flying J and others, jobs will depend on it.