, the oil processing Giant (literally--they sell gas under the Giant brand in New Mexico) has good news
for the New Mexico economy: In the first quarter of 2008 the company reported a $40.8 million net loss; in the first quarter of 2009, it's reporting a bounce-back with $58.9 million in earnings.
New Mexico state government receives a huge chunk of its funding through taxes on natural gas and oil operations and that's a big part of why we faced a budget crisis last year. Legislators were counting on the $150+/per barrel prices to hold steady and then kerplunk, it suddenly dropped. This *could* signal a rise in domestic oil production, though Western claims that a lot of it came from streamlining the refining process combined with lower overall gas prices. At the very least, that's good for the economy in the four corners area especially.
“As we begin the spring and summer driving season, we are cautiously optimistic in our outlook for margins as a result of inventory draws, increased gasoline demand, and continued low refinery utilization rates," Western Refining CEO Paul Foster said in the released statement. "In our southwest market, several refineries will be undergoing major maintenance turnarounds in the second quarter."
Of course, a rebound in the oil market will likely put a frown on the face of environmentalists as well as those (T. Boone Pickens, ahem) pushing for a fundamental shift in the energy economy.