AUSTIN (KXAN)  —  Last week, President Joe Biden, announced there would be 15 million barrels released from the strategic petroleum reserve sometime in December.  Since then, gas prices have dropped slightly in Texas and around the country.

But ongoing uncertainty fueled by the war in Ukraine and the risk of recession makes it difficult to predict which direction prices will head next.

Todd Staples, President of the Texas Oil & Gas Association, spoke with KXAN to share his insights on what gas prices and jobs may look like for Texans in the near future.

“We really need to protect consumers, we really, truly need a domestic energy plan and unleash American energy leadership,” Staples said. 

The American Petroleum Insitute has indicated that there are about 4.5M barrels of build-up oil which points to why Texans are seeing a reduction in oil prices right now. 

“I think we’re still gonna have volatility, as long as we do not determine if we want to be energy independent, that we want to be energy secure and that we want to encourage the jobs and the growth and the production right here in America,” Staples said. 

The current oil climate has affected Texas’ energy sector and jobs.

“It creates uncertainty and you have investment pressures, you have supply chain issues, and workforce issues that are all impacting the ability to go produce more. And so we really need to get some certainty here. And I think when you have that, you’ll see companies in America making a long-term investment plan.” Staples said. 

The federal Energy Information Administration tracks the short-term outlook for the price of West Texas Intermediate crude. And right now, it’s hard to predict that value. 

The Administration forecast for January predicts a barrel could sell as low as $52 – or as high as $132. The ongoing war in Ukraine could push prices to the high end, while the risk of a worldwide recession could move prices lower.