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Demand Destruction Will Decimate Oil Prices – OilPrice.com

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Demand Destruction Will Decimate Oil Prices | OilPrice.com

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    I have been warning since January that the long-term ramifications of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on the oil industry could be significant and long-lasting. In March we saw significant impacts on price and demand. What we don’t know is how long this crisis will last.

    But, I believe we are in the midst of an existential crisis for the oil industry as we know it. This will not be the same industry after this dark period ends. Only the strongest companies are going to survive the financial pain that lies ahead.

    There are many variables in this equation, and they are constantly changing. Demand is plummeting, production and prices are following, and Saudi Arabia and Russia are jockeying to hold onto market share.

    Vitol, the world’s largest independent oil trading company, has said that oil demand could slump as much as 20 million barrels per day (BPD) over the next few weeks, which would lead to an annual decline of 5 million BPD. Vitol CEO Russell Hardy said “It’s pretty huge in terms of anything we’ve had to deal with before.”

    Goldman Sachs said it expected March demand to be down 10.5 million BPD, followed by a further decline to 18.7 million BPD in April. The company noted that this deep plunge would be beyond the ability of OPEC to counteract: “A demand shock of this magnitude will overwhelm any supply response including any potential core-Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries output freeze or cut.”

    Related: U.S. Shale Ready To Fire Back In The Oil Price War

    Meanwhile, benchmark prices have temporarily settled in the lower $20s, but local prices have dropped even further. In a story that warned of the largest idling of oil wells in the past 35 years, Oilprice.com reported that last week some crude prices were trading in the $1 per barrel range

    The oil and gas sector has been crushed, and there will be a great deal of collateral damage. It’s hard to see when the sector will emerge from this crisis, or what the supply situation will be when we do. But it’s inevitable that there will be fewer players in the sector when this crisis ends.

    By Robert Rapier

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      Five Canadian banks cut credit card interest rates to ease COVID-19 impact – Canoe

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      TORONTO — Bank of Nova Scotia, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, National Bank of Canada and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce said on Friday they are cutting interest rates on credit cards to provide relief to customers affected by COVID-19 pandemic.

      Late on Friday, Scotiabank said it would reduce credit card interest rates to 10.99% for personal and small business clients who have been approved for, or seek, payment deferrals.

      Earlier, in separate statements, TD Bank said it will cut credit card interest rates by 50% for customers experiencing hardship, and Royal Bank said it will reduce the charges by the same extent for clients receiving minimum payment deferrals.

      National Bank will allow credit card customers to defer minimum payments for up to 90 days and reduce annual interest rates to 10.9% for these clients, it said.

      CIBC too will reduce interest rates to 10.99% on personal credit cards for users who request to skip a payment, Canada’s fifth-largest lender said. (https://reut.rs/3aHZM9Q)

      Most Royal Bank, TAD, Scotiabank and CIBC credit cards charge 19.99% interest on purchases. Most National Bank cards charge 20.99%.

      Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government had urged banks to help alleviate the burden credit card interest rates placed on Canadians. Friday’s moves are the latest in a raft of measures announced by the banks to ease the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on customers.

      Canada’s six biggest banks unveiled a mortgage-relief plan two weeks ago to allow homeowners to defer or skip mortgage payments for up to six months as businesses come to a grinding halt due to the pandemic.

      National Bank said it will refund additional interest accrued on the deferred mortgage payments. The lender will also waive fees for transfers and stop payments on checks and pre-authorized debts, and will not charge overdraft fees on checking and high-interest savings accounts, it said.

      Since the mortgage-relief plan was announced, the banks have received nearly half a million requests that have been completed or were being processed.

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      OPEC+ meeting delayed on new Saudi, Russia rift – BNNBloomberg.ca

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      OPEC+ delayed a meeting aimed at ending the oil price war, as Riyadh and Moscow trade barbs about who’s to blame for the collapse in oil prices.

      The alliance is tentatively aiming to hold the virtual gathering on April 9 instead of Monday as it previously intended, a delegate familiar with the matter said. Producers need more time for negotiations, said another. Beyond the alliance, Saudi Arabia and Russia have indicated they want other oil countries to join in any output cuts, complicating efforts to call a meeting, the delegate said, asking not to be named discussing diplomatic matters.

      The delay came hours after Saudi Arabia made a pointed diplomatic attack on Russian President Vladimir Putin, opening a fresh rift between the world’s two largest oil exporters and jeopardizing a deal to cut production.

      In a statement early on Saturday, the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said comments by Putin laying blame on Riyadh for the end of the OPEC+ pact between the two countries in March were “fully devoid of truth.”

      The direct criticism of Putin, echoed in a statement by Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, threatens a new agreement to stabilize an oil market that’s been thrown into chaos by the global fight against coronavirus. President Donald Trump had devoted hours of telephone diplomacy last week to brokering a truce in the month-long price war between Moscow and Riyadh.

      “We always remained skeptical about this wider deal as U.S. producers cannot be mandated to cut,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. “If so, Russia doesn’t come to the table. And if everyone doesn’t cut, Saudi Arabia’s long held stance is that they will not cut either.”

      The prospect of a new deal spurred a 50% recovery in benchmark oil prices last week as traders saw some relief from the catastrophic oversupply caused by a lockdown of the world’s largest economies, in a bit to halt the coronavirus pandemic. With billions of people forced to stay at home, demand for gasoline, diesel and jet has collapsed by about as much 35 million barrels a day.

      “Russia was the one that refused the agreement” in early March, the Saudi foreign ministry said. “The kingdom and 22 other countries were trying to to persuade Russia to make further cuts and extend the agreement.”

      Sponsored by Trump, who’s fretting about the future of America’s shale industry, momentum for a new agreement had built in recent days.

      A delay is “not a good sign,” said Ayham Kamel, head of Middle East and North Africa at the Eurasia Group consultancy. “This entirely plays negatively for the discussions.”

      “Part of Putin’s comments are about saving face and also justifying why the oil price crashed and partly to deter criticism from the U.S. Putin doesn’t want to be blamed for any losses in the U.S. energy industry. It seems to me that there’s both a defensive effort to shield from criticism abroad for both the Saudis and the Russians,” Kamel said.

      Blame Game

      Putin acknowledged the need for a deal on Friday, saying Russia was willing to contribute cuts. This could be 1 million barrels-a-day if the U.S. joins, according to four people familiar with sentiment in the industry.

      But he also put responsibility for the downward spiral in prices on Saudi Arabia.

      “It was the pullout by our partners from Saudi Arabia from the OPEC+ deal, their increase in production and their announcement that they were even ready to give discounts on oil” that contributed to the crash, along with the coronavirus-driven drop in demand, he said.

      “This was apparently linked to efforts by our partners from Saudi Arabia to eliminate competitors who produce so-called shale oil,” Putin continued. “To do that, the price needs to be below $40 a barrel. And they succeeded in that. But we don’t need that, we never set such a goal.”

      In fact, at the time the deal collapsed, Russian officials said privately they were seeking to do just that: use lower prices to force U.S. shale producers from the market and reverse some of the losses in market share they’d seen in recent years.

      Since the original OPEC+ deal fell apart at a March 5 meeting in Vienna, the Saudis have argued Russia decided to walk away and was first to say countries were free to pump as much as possible.

      Prince Abdulaziz, the energy minister and half-brother of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, made the same point in his statement on Saturday.

      “The Russian Minister of Energy was first to declare to the media that all the participating countries are absolved of their commitments,” he said. “This led to the decision by countries to raise their production in order to offset lower prices and compensate for their loss of returns.”

      But the end of OPEC+, first forged in 2016, reflected long standing tensions between the two most important members in the 24 nation alliance. Saudi Arabia was shouldering most of the burden, producing more than 2 million barrels a day below capacity, while Russia had made a more nominal contribution.

      The Saudis, who have ramped up production to a record 12 million barrels a day in the past month and massively discounted the price of their oil, have insisted a new agreement must involve significant contributions from all OPEC+ nations and major producers outside the coalition, including the U.S. and Canada.

      “No one had expected such a total collapse in the oil market,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, head of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a research group which advises the Kremlin. “Saudi Arabia and Russia have lost control of the situation. Tearing up the OPEC+ deal caused a lot of hurt feelings in Moscow and Riyadh, for Putin and MBS. That makes things more difficult, they have to get over that while not losing face. That’s why they’re both pointing the finger at each other.”

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