Shell is in trouble. BP is in trouble. So too is Exxon.
You cannot underestimate that seismic shift going on as investors, often drunk on big oil profits, now just face uncertainty and loss. The oceans are awash with bobbing tankers full of oil, with no market to sell them. The industry is paralysed by the pandemic.
There is no doubt we are at a historical moment with the industry in deep structural and financial trouble and where a post-COVID-19 recovery could see a radical shift away from oil and into a just transition into renewables. But will that happen?
This week the seemingly impossible happened: U.S. oil futures prices went negative for the first time in history. What happens next is up to us.
Later today, U.S. President Donald Trump is set to meet with at least seven senior oil executives in person at the White House to discuss the historic plunge in the oil price.
Warren Mabee, the director of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen’s University, said he “wouldn’t be surprised if Canadian crude prices briefly go negative – a scenario where producers are paying people to take away product.”
People all over the world are facing unprecedented crises from COVID-19. These tragic impacts will be the deepest in the world’s most vulnerable communities, regions and countries. IEA director Dr. Fatih Birol has urged governments worldwide to place clean energy at the heart of stimulus. Here Dr. Birol is right – but making this clean energy call count with real ambition is critical if the IEA wants to shake its reputation as a shill for the fossil fuel sector.
The unthinkable could soon be thinkable.
What America needs is a comprehensive vision for energy security, one that goes beyond fossil fuel independence. This plan should entail sustained investment in alternative fuel sources and technologies… If the United States really wants to be energy independent, it must look toward preparing for a post-oil future.”
As COVID-19 becomes an official pandemic and oil prices plunge amidst a global price war, questions are emerging regarding the impact of these developments on climate and energy policy. Oil Change International experts offer statements and are available for further comment.