Newfoundland and Labrador’s oil and gas industry has been hollowed out by the global pandemic over the past months, but there are signs of a turnaround as the world economy slowly rebounds from a COVID – slump
Amanda Young had her dream job as a cook on the Terra Nova FPSO, one of four oil-producing platforms in offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We all thought we were going to retire offshore until last year, “said Young, 25, who’s originally from Corner Brook, NL, and now lives in St. John’s.
“Times were really good. We were saving up for the kids’ college funds.”
But her comfortable life was shattered over the past year as the oil industry was hammered by a global pandemic, along with a price war between oil-producing behemoths Saudi Arabia and Russia, causing crude prices to plunge.
Like thousands of others, Young lost her job, one that allowed her to buy her own house, with thoughts of retiring before she was
Now she’s wondering how she’ll pay the bills.
“What’s going to happen when that unemployment check runs out and there’s no other jobs; there’s nothing left?” said Young, who lost her job last fall.
Young is a stepmother to two young girls, Ava and Kaylee. Her husband, Trent Taylor, is one of just a few dozen people still working on the Terra Nova as it floats dockside in Bull Arm, its future as uncertain as the weather in Trinity Bay.
“We ‘re pretty much stuck in a really hard spot, “said Young, one of many people connected to the oil and gas industry whose lives were cast into turmoil over the past year.
With her two stepdaughters looking on, Young stands in her driveway, speaking about the uncertainty that’s gripped her life and what it might mean for Ava and Kaylee.
“Here we are, two offshore people trying to run a house and family and kids that are in gymnastics and different extracurricular activities that they’re going to have to get hauled out of because we’re not going to be able to afford it, “she said.
An industry cut off at the knees
The double blow of the COVID – 25 pandemic and production wa r sent oil prices tumbling as the market was flooded with crude, and demand for fuels dried up as society ground to a halt amid pandemic lockdowns.
Oil companies did what they always do in a crisis: tightened their belts.
So in staggering fashion, an industry poised for growth – with promises of billions of dollars in investment, unprecedented exploration activity and a plan to double production in the coming years – was cut off at the knees.