Financial Intel Monthly

Too Much Oil with Nowhere to Go

May 13, 2020 12:15:12 PM / by The Retirement Group posted in CAM Annuity, Chevron, ERB, ESRO, ExxonMobil, Financial Planning, Hewitt, In Service Withdrawal, Lump Sum, Option 1 Withdrawal, Pension, Pension Options, Retirement, Retirement Planning, 401K, 72t, Age Penalties, Benefit Commencement Date, Workshops, TRG, ConocoPhillips, Halliburton, OXY, Shell

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On April 20, 2020, the price of a futures contract for West Texas Intermediate crude — the benchmark for U.S. oil prices — fell below zero for the first time in history, dropping more than 306% in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and ending the day at -$37.63 per barrel.1 Essentially, this meant that investors who would soon be obligated to take possession of a barrel of oil were willing to pay someone else to take it instead.

This unprecedented price collapse was for contracts scheduled to expire the following day and require delivery in May. June futures dropped 18% to about $20 a barrel, and the May contract clawed its way back to about $10 on April 21.2-3 But the dramatic plunge below zero highlighted a fundamental problem for the oil industry in the face of evaporating demand due to COVID-19. There is too much oil, and the industry is running out of places to put it.

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