Oil futures go negative for first time, major impact to regional - FOX34 Lubbock

Oil futures go negative for first time, major impact to regional economy

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West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery was down more than 25 percent Tuesday morning, down below $15 a barrel.

This comes a day after price for May delivery crashed to negative $37.63, the first time the price for oil went negative.

Analysts attribute the collapse to supply, demand and storage. Storage tanks world-wide are near capacity; no one wants to buy oil they can't store. This is also somewhat a technicality, since all the May contracts for buying oil closed Monday night. But the Tuesday dive of June contracts drives home the state, at least as of today, of the energy industry.

On the demand end, with much of the economy shuttered, people are not driving or flying. And many other industries that use petroleum are slowed.

Analysts say many small energy businesses may not survive this anomaly.

"You can't finance anything right now," said Nikki Kantelis, energy commerce professor at Texas Tech. "You can't borrow money right now. And you certainly can't make money at $20, $25, $30 a barrel. That's the sad part of the story. But, economic development, economic activity relies on energy."

Lubbock Congressman Jodey Arrington has called for the Trump administration to provide subsidies for those small businesses.

Midland Congressman Mike Conaway says the government should stay away from trying to manage the problem too much.

"The federal government has a terrible track record of developing supply management programs. Period," Congressman Conaway said. "It's just not something that any government is good at. The market is best at doing those kinds of things."

The Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the state's oil and gas industry, is scheduled to meet Tuesday. Its members will discuss cutting production.

In a single day last week, the oil and gas industry cut more than 6,400 jobs. Halliburton reported a $1 billion loss in the first quarter and has laid off or furloughed thousands of employees.

Texas U.S. Senator John Cornyn said Tuesday "I'm really worried that this is going to destroy, or at least permanently damage, a really important part of our economy in Texas and the United States." Cornyn spoke on FOX News Channel's America's Newsroom Tuesday morning.

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