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October 20, 2020

Oil prices fall due to rising cases of Covid-19 infections

Oil prices have slipped due to concerns that a resurgence of global cases of Covid-19 infections is ‘stifling’ fuel demand recovery.

By Himaja Ganta

Oil prices have slipped due to concerns that a resurgence of global cases of Covid-19 infections is ‘stifling’ fuel demand recovery.

Increasing Libyan output also added to ‘already plentiful’ supply.

Brent crude futures dropped by $0.34 or 0.8% to $42.28 a barrel while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures fell by $0.15 cents touching $40.68, Reuters reported.

According to a Reuters tally, coronavirus cases surpassed 40 million on 19 October, with a rising second wave in Europe.

North America is in the process of implementing ‘various degrees’ of lockdown measures.

Meanwhile, the meeting of a ministerial panel of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and its allies, together known as OPEC+, committed to supporting the oil industry as fears grow over the surge in Covid-19 cases.

As of now, OPEC+ is committed to cut output by 7.7Mbpd until the end of this year and then increasing production by 2Mbpd in January next year.

The news agency quoted JBC Energy as stating: “Monday’s JMMC meeting failed to match market hopes of scrapping the planned output rise in January amidst an increasingly precarious demand environment.”

During the JMMC meeting, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said: “Demand recovery is uneven. Today, this process has slowed down because of a second coronavirus wave but has not yet fully reversed.”

OPEC member Libya is increasing production after a conflict with armed forces has shut most of the country’s output in January.

The output of Sharara, Libya’s biggest oilfield, resumed production on 11 October.

Reuters cited two industry sources as saying that the field is now at 150,000bpd, approximately half its production capacity.

On 24 October, another 70,000bpd oil field is expected to restart in Libya.

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