ITR Economics’ Brian Beaulieu, fresh off giving the company’s annual economic forecast for the PHCP-PVF industry to a packed house at NETWORK2016 in New York City, recently talked with Supply House Times specifically about the near-term status of the struggling oil-and-gas patch.

Why do you have guarded optimism about the fortunes of the oil-and-gas industry turning around in the near future?

BB: Demand is rising along with GDP and production in North America is declining.

If you could put a timetable on things, when could individuals who do business in the oil-and-gas patch expect to see signs of things turning around?

BB: Signs of things turning around already are evident. For example, the rig count is rising. Perhaps a more pointed question is when will the trend become more well-defined or more significant? We think that will be in late 2017 or early 2018.

Is there a specific price-per-barrel threshold you see as the tipping  point or are there other economic-geo-political factors in play that need to happen for the road back to prosperity to open again in that patch?

BB: Fifty dollars a barrel is a healthy price for getting the U.S. going again. It is too low of a price to get the frack-log back into play if that is what people are waiting for. Prices running consistently above $60 would potentially be injurious to the consumer and therefore the greater economy.