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Despite restarting economy, expert thinks oil and gas will take a while to bounce back

As the economy begins a new chapter oil and gas experts said it provides some stability for oil prices moving forward.

HOUSTON, Texas — Oil and gas prices have hit historic lows but many are hoping for a rebound now that businesses are reopening around the world.

In Houston, Ed Hirs, energy fellow at the University of Houston, is more cautious of the oil market’s future.

For example, COVID-19 brought the oil and gas industry to a halt.

“We’re consuming 20-30 million barrels a day less of oil,” Hirs said.

As the economy begins a new chapter, Hirs said it provides some stability for oil prices moving forward.

He believes the price at the pump will stay low through the summer.

“Not just because the economy is down but because there’s still a huge overhang of supply and not everybody is going back,” Hirs said.

Also, he said operating in a limited capacity is not the same as working at 100%.

An ongoing price war in the Middle East between Saudi Arabia and Russia will continue to affect the market.

“We have two big factors that have driven the number of layoffs, thousands have been laid off because capital spending related to the drilling of new wells has just gone to zero,” Hirs said.

He doesn’t think the oil market can bounce back as fast as the rest of the economy, but he said slowly reopening businesses is better than doing nothing.

“The benefit, of course, is for consumers getting back to work will be a little less expensive, beginning to travel will be a little less expensive,” Hirs said.

RELATED: New study: COVID-19 economic hit to Houston equal to four Hurricane Harveys

RELATED: 'The lows are low and they hurt really bad' | Houston oil and gas workers talk about rapid downturn

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