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How is the Crude Oil Crisis Impacting Oil Refiners?

Posted Wednesday, March 18, 2020 by
Arslan Butt • 1 min read

Leading oil refiners around the world are considering cutting their output and focusing on extensive maintenance efforts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic significantly driving down demand for oil in global markets. Travel restrictions and lockdown measures across several countries have reduced oil demand even as the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia threatens the risk of oversupply in markets.

Demand for jet fuel, public transportation fuels have slid lower as countries impose severe restrictions in a desperate bid to contain the rapid spread of coronavirus cases. Meanwhile, crude oil prices have weakened significantly as a result of Saudi Arabia’s plans to increase crude production and flood the market with cheaper oil, a move that will further impact refiners’ margins in the near future.

Oil refiners do have an option to fill up their storage but that is a temporary measure, as refining rates are expected to see a sharp downfall amid weakening demand and a possible upcoming supply glut. Refiners that had recently increase their capital investments in anticipation of higher demand for low-sulfur shipping fuel are expected to be hit the hardest in the coming months.

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