BREAKING NEWS: Oil drops below $1 a barrel

Oil prices sunk to their lowest level in decades on Monday, trading below $1 a barrel.

That price is more than a 90 percent decline from the market close on Friday, after prices periodically dipped to another new low over the course of the day.

Oil prices fell as low as $0.01 on Monday, the lowest price since the New York Mercantile Exchange began trading oil futures in 1983.


The low prices for West Texas Intermediate oil comes as demand for oil has fallen 30 percent as people quarantine due to the coronavirus, leading to a massive surplus of unneeded oil and fuel.

“There is such a massive supply surplus and very little places to store it, and that's what’s driving this,” Jim Burkhard, vice president and head of oil markets at IHS Markit, told The Hill.

The dramatic drop in oil prices hit multiple new lows throughout the course of Monday morning, hitting the lowest price in more than 20 years when it fell to a little more than $10.

Prices are expected to rebound Tuesday, however.

Oil purchases are made on monthly contracts, a reflection of the time needed to get the product to market. Monday is the last day to purchase oil under the May contract, with bidding on June contracts starting tomorrow.

Other efforts underway may also ease tension in the market in the coming months.

Companies have begun limiting their production, temporarily capping wells.

U.S. production is expected to drop by a little less than 5 percent for the rest of the year, according to market analysis by EIA.

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy is preparing to rent 23 million barrels of space within its Strategic Petroleum Reserve to oil companies — space they would pay for in oil.

The Trump administration has also floated the idea of paying oil companies to leave their product in the ground — a way of ensuring U.S. production falls after President Trump committed to limit production as part of a deal with other oil-producing countries.

But Burkhard said additional storage space will only help so much.

“It's not going to change the overall picture. It could help some companies that may need storage but it’s not going to conjure up demand growth, and demand collapse is the core problem,” he said.

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