The Economy

Oil Plunges to 21-Year Low

The oil price collapse comes as an agreement to cut supply failed to offset plummeting demand.
Lauren MuskettApril 20, 2020
Oil Plunges to 21-Year Low

U.S. crude benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) has fallen to the $15 range, its lowest since 1999.

The oil price collapse comes as an agreement to cut supply failed to offset plummeting demand and global oil storage is reaching its limits.

Analysts say demand has fallen by up to 30 million barrels per day as nations struggle to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

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The price of WTI for delivery in May was $15.37 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Monday morning. It had fallen as low as $14.47.

“The current prices show that the OPEC+ cuts proved to be a blip, with oil prices at the mercy of the virus once again,” Vanda Insights founder Vandana Hari said. “Until we approach a lifting of the lockdowns in the U.S., oil may drift lower or remain rangebound around current levels.”

The U.S. Department of Energy is reportedly considering paying domestic oil producers to keep crude in the ground amid concerns the U.S.’s main storage facilities in Cushing, Oklahoma, are reaching capacity.

Just last Wednesday, domestic crude oil supplies increased a record 19 million barrels, according to the International Energy Agency.

The Railroad Commission of Texas last week heard ten hours of testimony over whether to institute mandatory caps on production, but regulators ultimately made no decision.

The OPEC+ countries announced on April 12 an agreement to cut production by 9.7 million barrels per day, beginning May 1 and continuing through the end of June.

“The output cut that we’ve seen, or supposed to see coming, isn’t sufficient to cover the 25 million to 30 million barrels of daily demand that’s being destroyed by Covid-19,” said David Lennox, resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney. “We have to see a peak for Covid-19 globally to get a clearer picture of how much demand will be destroyed.”