Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Oil and natural gas companies are staring down the barrel of a slowing economy, President Trump's on-again-off-again Chinese trade war, persistently low oil prices that plunged yesterday, and even lower natural gas prices.

Where it stands: Big Oil's second-quarter earnings are mixed this week. European majors Total, Eni and Shell reported large drops in profits while BP "bucked the trend." On this side of the Atlantic, ExxonMobil faced a 21% drop in quarterly profit while Chevron saw a 26.3% rise in its quarterly profits, per Reuters.

One level deeper: The oil market already took a hit after the Federal Reserve cut rates on Wednesday. A strong dollar typically weakens oil prices. Meanwhile, a lack of infrastructure like pipelines is hitting natural gas prices.

"For companies, this means a long global oil market is weighing on crude prices at the same time that U.S. infrastructure shortfalls are weighing on gas prices."
— Kevin Book, managing director, ClearView Energy Partners

What's next: More of the same.

  • "Growth in oil supply is expected to accelerate next year as global production increases, keeping crude mired in a bear market," The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • "At the same time, anxiety about trade tensions crimping global growth and weakening demand has bolstered concern about a supply glut in recent months, investors say."

But, but, but: Persistently low oil prices is good news for American consumers. That will likely make President Trump content in this area and keep tweets about oil prices at bay — which is probably good for everybody.

Go deeper: The forever trade war

Go deeper

Twitter launches warnings on election misinformation and delays

Photo: courtesy of Twitter

Twitter will start pinning notices to the top of all U.S. Twitter users’ timelines warning that results in next week’s election may be delayed and that they may encounter misinformation on mail-in voting.

Why it matters: Delayed election results are expected across many states that are handling unprecedented amounts of absentee and mailed ballots, which President Trump has baselessly called "very dangerous" and "corrupt."

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
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NASA confirms water exists on sunny parts of the Moon

Photo: NASA/JPL/USGS

Water on the Moon might be more easily accessible than previously thought, opening up new possible avenues for future human exploration, according to a new study.

Why it matters: NASA is aiming to send people back to the Moon as part of its Artemis program by 2024, with plans to eventually create a sustainable presence on the lunar surface. That sustainability relies on mining the moon for its resources, like water.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Pence no longer expected at Amy Coney Barrett's final confirmation vote

Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence no longer plans to attend the Senate's final confirmation vote for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a Pence aide confirmed to CNN and Politico on Monday. On Sunday, Senate Democrats claimed that his presence after possible exposure to the coronavirus would be a "violation of common decency."

Driving the news: Five of Pence's aides were recently diagnosed with COVID-19, including his chief of staff, who is currently quarantining. Pence has continued his campaign travel despite his possible exposure, which goes against CDC guidelines.