Dirt roads zigzig through the Uintah Basin, connecting thousands of oil and gas wells. The area is rich in natural resources, and many of the towns that have sprouted up in this rangeland are built around the drilling and extraction of these resources.
The future of these wells—and the people who make a living from them—is uncertain, as oil prices remain at some of the lowest levels seen in years.
“In the month of December, oil prices have decreased between 35 to 40 percent,” said Benjamin Blau, a professor of economics at Utah State University.
Blau said these low prices stem from a slower global demand for oil while production is increasing.
“Currently, Utah is ranked 11th in the nation in oil production, and so whenever oil prices decrease, you can expect to see slower production,” Blau said.