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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

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Aug 17, 2020 - Energy & Environment

The oil industry faces deepening uncertainty

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The oil industry is facing an immense amount of uncertainty, even for a sector that bobs along in the currents of global markets and geopolitics despite its enormous power.

The big picture: As Democrats hold their convention this week, seeking a boost for Joe Biden heading into the heart of the 2020 campaign, the election is unfolding against another huge source of uncertainty for the industry: the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden's pick to lead major banking regulator drops out

Saule Omarova, nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, at a confirmation hearing on Nov. 18. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden's pick to head one of the country's most powerful banking regulators is dropping out of consideration for the post, according to a statement from Biden that accepted the withdrawal.

Why it matters: Saule Omarova, nominated to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, faced a tough path to confirmation — with opposition from Republicans and moderate Democrats.

Judge temporarily blocks Biden vaccine mandate for federal contractors

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 6 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked President Biden's vaccine mandate for federal contractors nationwide.

Why it matters: It's the latest setback in the Biden administration's rollout of COVID vaccine requirements. Federal judges in two states temporarily barred the administration from enforcing mandates for millions of workers last week.