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20 Apr, 2020 21:14

Will US troops stop guarding Syrian oil fields? Negative oil prices provide that extra bit of coronavirus surrealism

Will US troops stop guarding Syrian oil fields? Negative oil prices provide that extra bit of coronavirus surrealism

US benchmark oil futures plummeted to negative numbers on Monday, as if the coronavirus epidemic hadn’t already pushed the world into the Twilight Zone. Social media took time to appreciate the icing on a very surreal cake.

Futures contracts for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) – the US oil benchmark fuel – plunged over 100 percent on Monday to a record-breaking -$37.63, the first time going negative in history and a bizarre event by any measure. Even if it hadn’t happened in the midst of a pandemic that has laid waste to the US and many other countries’ economies, it would be a shock.

Also on rt.com US oil market crashes to NEGATIVE in historic plummet

The contracts expire on Tuesday, and a total collapse in oil demand – given the lockdowns keeping most of the world’s population from driving or flying anywhere – combined with a glut of supply apparently forcing some oil tankers to linger offshore for lack of places to store their contents has made the contracts worse than worthless. Despite the claims of some on social media, however, one can’t go to the gas station and demand payment to fill up one’s tank.

Even as the country enters uncharted economic territory, the one-track mind of some in the American media establishment could only filter this news through the prism of Orange Man Bad. By one count, it took less than a minute for the jackals to pounce.

Others imagined a new future for American foreign policy now that the Pentagon would presumably no longer be plundering Middle Eastern petroleum.

Plenty of armchair ‘investors’ were willing to weigh in…

…and price comparisons were numerous.

Oil played a starring role in a few memes.

OPEC slashed production by nearly 10 million barrels per day starting next month, though given continuing lockdowns, it may not be enough. At least we now know who will be blamed if it isn’t.

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