The New Republic discusses urgent message of negative oil prices. A transition for at-risk fossil-fuel workers has to be at the heart of the next stimulus package. For the first time ever, oil is trading at negative prices after plummeting sharply yesterday. In other words, because it costs money to store and transport oil, drillers—and, specifically in this case, those of West Texas Intermediate Crude—are now having to pay pipeline and storage companies to take product off their hands, as space for storing excess oil runs out fast. This might be the greatest crisis to face the oil industry since there’s been an oil industry, and no one in power seems to have a plan for what to do about it.
The New York Times discusses how the oil industry is bracing for devastation. Across the United States, companies are laying off workers, shutting down wells and preparing for a prolonged slump as oil prices tumble. Workers at Marathon Petroleum’s refinery in Gallup, N.M., are turning off the valves. Oil companies in West Texas are paying early termination fees to contract employees rather than drill new wells. And in Montana, producers are shutting down wells and slashing salaries and benefits. Just a few months ago, the American oil industry was triumphant in its quest for energy independence, having turned the United States into the world’s biggest petroleum producer for the first time in decades. But that exhilaration has given way to despair as the coronavirus has kneecapped the economy, destroying demand for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel as cars sit parked in driveways and planes are consigned to remote fields and runways.