Oil prices dip amid pandemic and price war, could go negative

Yes, it's possible to see negative oil prices, and the coronavirus and a price war might push them there.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read

Prepare for some really, really cheap oil.

Jose Luis Stephens/EyeEm/Getty Images

Gas is cheap in most places around the US as of late, and it's not just because of curtailed demand due to the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. Just as the virus spread to numerous parts of the world, Saudi Arabia began to cut prices and set off a price war against Russia.

Now, oil prices are falling at a rapid rate. Paul Sankey, managing director at Mizuho Securities, tells Fox News Business it's totally possible for oil prices to hit a negative figure. As countries continue to pump oil, they need to store it somewhere, and when storage gets expensive (or there's simply no more room) oil companies could actually pay typical buyers to take it off their hands.

Through it all, while this would almost certainly drop low gas prices even further, this isn't particularly good news for US oil producers who extract their goods from shale, or Canadian oil sand producers. The process is more expensive and cheaper oil from other countries may quickly price them out of the market.

Francisco Blanch, a commodity strategist at Bank of America, told the publication it's possible we may see inventories jump to a 900-million-barrel surplus. It all adds up. If social distancing becomes the longer-term norm, there are fewer cars on the road. If folks stay home and push off a vacation, that's less fuel needed for planes. If industries go offline for periods of time, they don't need power.

As of this writing, crude oil prices are up to around $25 a barrel, but it follows a major dip to around $20 a barrel yesterday. In all likelihood, we may see prices fall into the teens.

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