Economics/Class Relations

As crude prices turn negative, hundreds of oil companies could go bankrupt

They say that like it’s a bad thing. Big Oil finally gets its comeuppance for its role in sole many Middle Eastern wars.

By Matt Egan

CNN

The coronavirus pandemic has caused oil demand to drop so rapidly that the world is running out of room to store barrels. At the same time, Russia and Saudi Arabia flooded the world with excess supply.

That double black swan has caused oil prices to collapse to levels that make it impossible for US shale oil companies to make money. US crude for May delivery turned negative on Monday — something that has never happened since NYMEX oil futures began trading in 1983. It was easily the oil market’s worst day on record.

US crude for June delivery is still trading above $20 a barrel — but even that’s disastrous.

“$30 is already quite bad, but once you get to $20 or even $10, it’s a complete nightmare,” said Artem Abramov, head of shale research at Rystad Energy.

Many oil companies took on too much debt during the good times. Some of them won’t be able to survive this historic downturn.

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