Slight increase in oil rig operation count has some hopeful for recovery

WHITE OAK, TX (KLTV) - In the past two weeks, working oil rig sites have increased by six across the country, and while that may not seem like many, for some in the industry
in East Texas, it could be a sign of recovery. And one East Texas company has managed to survive the slump by diversifying services

With oil prices slowly creeping up and rig counts rebounding for the second straight week, companies like Energy Weldfab are hoping they are seeing
the light at the end of the tunnel.
 
"We're trying not to get too far ahead of ourselves by looking forward. because tomorrow it could go down to $40 a barrel. At the beginning
of the downturn, we started looking at other industries and other things we could do," says Energy Weldfab vice president Michael Clements Jr.

Some oil field companies had to lay off a major portion of their workforce while prices were low. Weldfab grudgingly trimmed workers.
 
"We've had to have some cuts here at our company. You get to know them and their families and it's like your brother or sister out there, and it makes it very difficult," Clements says. 
 
"When you read about 750,000 jobs lost, you really can get down, but everybody here stayed real positive," says safety director Jacob Palmer.

One of the things that has helped Weldfab be successful even in down times is diversity. They formed their own engineering department.
 
"Our engineering department has really grown during the downturn. By having a good name in the oil and gas business and building a strong product
for over 25 years, it really opened a lot of doors for us," says Clements.
 
Workers are glad to stay on the job through the company's foresight.
 
"I think it says a lot about our company itself, the way they've planned ahead, for me the way they treat their employees," says quality control
employee Chris Davis.
 
They have weathered the storm and hope the market turns back in their favor.
 
"We have actually grown that engineering department in a way that we're looking at more than oil and gas," Clements says.
 
This is the first time since August of 2015 that the number of active oil rigs has increased.
 
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