Mar 5, 2020 - Energy & Environment

OPEC puts the ball in Russia's court on oil production amid coronavirus spread

Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud in Vienna on March 5. Photo: Askin Kiyagan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

OPEC ministers have agreed to push for deepening their joint production-cutting agreement with Russia and allied producers by 1.5 million barrels per day, per reports from Vienna.

Why it matters: The cartel is trying to grapple with how the novel coronavirus is sapping oil demand and depressing prices.

  • All eyes are now on Russia, which has yet to endorse the plan. Per Bloomberg, OPEC officials are "gambling that they can overcome Russian opposition that could block the move."

Where it stands: The latest sign of coronavirus' effect on the market came this morning. The consultancy Wood Mackenzie estimated global oil demand this quarter will fall by 2.7 million barrels per day compared to a year earlier.

  • It's among several estimates that show the economic hit from the virus not only slowing oil demand but throwing it into reverse.

Go deeper: Fueled by coronavirus, global oil demand set to drop record amount

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Trump's hopes and plans for the oil market

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Oil prices climbed Thursday morning as traders are responding to President Trump's comments yesterday evening that Russia and Saudi Arabia could soon mend fences on oil supply policy, per the Financial Times.

Driving the news: Trump told reporters that he believes, based on his recent calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Saudi crown prince, that "they will work it out over the next few days."

World coronavirus updates: Australian police probe cruise ship docking

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The Ruby Princess berthed south of Sydney Monday — hours after Australian police launched a criminal investigation into the cruise ship, which has been linked to 11 deaths and over 600 cases of the novel coronavirus.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 69,000 people and infected 1.25 million others globally as of early Monday, per Johns Hopkins data. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 131,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 15,000). About half the planet's population is now on lockdown.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 7 mins ago - Health

Trump to buy oil for nation’s strategic reserves

President Trump. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

President Trump will direct the Energy Department to buy oil for the nation’s strategic stockpile to boost prices and help the oil industry reeling after the market’s historic collapse this week.

The big picture: America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve was created in the 1970s to ensure the U.S. has oil in case of an emergency. Today, Trump is buying oil for the reserve because of an emergency.