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Photo: Ryad Kramdi/AFP via Getty Images

OPEC's possible responses to the spreading coronavirus that's hurting oil demand and prices are starting to come into view.

Why it matters: Besides killing more than 360 people so far, the outbreak is severely curtailing airline and economic activity in China, the world's largest oil importer and second-largest oil consumer.

  • Brent crude prices have tumbled by roughly $10 per barrel in the last two weeks. It's currently trading in the low-$56 range.

Driving the news: Reuters reports that OPEC and allied producers could deepen their existing production-limiting pact by 500,000 barrels per day.

  • The Wall Street Journal has the same info, but also reports: "Another option being considered would involve a temporary cut of 1 million barrels a day by the Saudis to jolt oil markets."

The big picture: This new Bloomberg piece, citing people with "inside knowledge" of China's energy sector, gets to the scary and immense scale of what's happening...

  • "Chinese oil demand has dropped by about three million barrels a day, or 20% of total consumption, as the coronavirus squeezes the economy."
  • It's "probably the largest demand shock the oil market has suffered since the global financial crisis of 2008 to 2009," they report.

What's next: A technical monitoring committee for OPEC+, which is the alliance between the cartel, Russia and allied producers, is slated to meet this week, per multiple reports.

  • A higher level emergency meeting could occur later this month, several outlets report.

Go deeper: The global economic threat of the coronavirus

Go deeper

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Credit: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

2 hours ago - World

Zelensky questions U.S. warnings of "imminent" invasion in Biden call

Biden and Zelensky at the White House last October. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a back-and-forth in their call this evening about just how "imminent" the threat of a Russian invasion might be, according to three sources briefed on the call.

Why it matters: Biden has said previously that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will probably "move in" to Ukraine, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday afternoon that "an invasion could come at any time."

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