When oil became waste: a week of turmoil for crude, and more pain to come

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The magnitude of how damaged the energy industry is came into full view on April 20 when the benchmark price of US oil futures, which had never dropped below $10 a barrel in its nearly 40-year history, plunged to a previously unthinkable minus $38 a barrel. In just a few months, the coronavirus pandemic has destroyed so much fuel demand as billions of people curtail travel that it has done what financial crashes, recessions and wars had failed to ever do – leave the United States with so much oil there was nowhere to put it.

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