Crude reality: price crash means oil firms must slash spending
Paris: Confronted with a dizzying drop in prices, oil firms face a real challenge as they try to cut investment spending in order to survive a coronavirus-induced collapse in demand coupled with a Russia-Saudi Arabia price war.
Investment in oil exploration and production was set to hit just over half a trillion dollars this year according to the French research body IFPEN, as firms sought to maintain and expand output.
But the emergence of the coronavirus, which has seen nations across the world confine citizens at home and shutter businesses to slow its spread, has upended all forecasts.
The International Energy Agency, which advises oil-importing nations on energy policy, now expects the first annual drop in oil demand since 2009 during the global financial crisis, as the global economy tips into recession. The main international benchmark, Brent crude, has fallen from just shy of $60 per barrel to under $25 this week, before regaining some lost ground. The main US benchmark, WTI, tumbled from nearly $54 to just over $20. Not all of the drop is due to the coronavirus. The price of oil had been supported for the past couple of years by production limits agreed by the OPEC oil cartel led by Saudi Arabia and a number of other producers including Russia. - AFP