May 14, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Oil market forces "have demonstrated their power"

Ben Geman, author of Generate

Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

Global oil production is dropping faster than expected as companies in North America and elsewhere curb output in response to the pandemic that has caused demand and prices to crater, the International Energy Agency said.

Why it matters: The monthly report this morning sounds guardedly optimistic notes about the stabilization of oil markets, noting that in addition to the production cuts, collapse in demand is slightly less dire than earlier predictions.

Between the lines: "Major uncertainties remain," the analysis warns. One is whether governments can successfully ease restrictions without sparking a resurgence of outbreaks.

  • Another is whether countries in the big OPEC+ group — which is led by Saudi Arabia and Russia — comply with their mid-April production-cutting pact.

The big picture: "It is on the supply side where market forces have demonstrated their power and shown that the pain of lower prices affects all producers. We are seeing massive cuts in output from countries outside the OPEC+ agreement and faster than expected," IEA said.

By the numbers: Output from nations that aren't part of the OPEC+ deal, led by the U.S. and Canada, was down by 3 million barrels per day in April compared to levels at the beginning of the year.

  • The decline could reach 4 million barrels per day in June, "with perhaps more to come," IEA said.
  • U.S. production alone could be 2.8 million barrels per day lower at year's end than it was at the close of 2019.
  • Meanwhile, IEA also trimmed its projection for demand loss. It now estimates that global demand this year will drop by 8.6 million barrels per day, lower than the prior projection of 9.3 million.

Go deeper: EIA forecasts U.S. oil boom will reverse amid coronavirus disruption

Go deeper

Energy use declines in Permian Basin offer another glimpse at shale downturn

Reproduced from Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago; Chart: Axios Visuals

The downturn in the Permian Basin, the heart of the U.S. oil patch, was large enough to cause a big drop in electricity use there, analysis from a University of Chicago energy think tank shows.

What they did: Their analysis looks at daily declines and fluctuation compared to a pre-COVID baseline (captured above), as well as the average drop-off since mid-March, which is 24%.

The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut

Adam Hansmann (left) and Alex Mather (right), co-founders of The Athletic. Photo: Steph Gray, courtesy of The Athletic

The Athletic is laying off nearly 8% of staff, 46 people, according to an internal memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: It's the latest media company that's been been forced to take drastic measures to survive the economic fallout from the coronavirus. Like many sports media outlets, The Athletic has been particularly impacted by the loss of live sports.

Unpacking a surprise jobs report

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Can we trust this morning's surprisingly good employment report?

  • The short answer: Yes.