Due to the growing global coronavirus pandemic and the sharp decline in global energy prices, a major refinery in the United States was shut down for the first time. Bloomberg news agency reported that the company North Atlantic Refining Ltd. stops production at its plant for two to five months.
It is noted that the refinery, which was shut down due to the widespread collapse in demand for raw materials, daily supplied about 130 thousand barrels of oil to the Canadian market and the U.S. east coast. According to the media, the restrictions imposed by the U.S. authorities on movement in major cities of the country due to the rapidly spreading disease COVID-2019 has already led to a decline in oil supplies to the domestic market by 2 million barrels last week alone.
Against this background, other American refineries are rapidly reducing their processing volumes. Due to the fact that the price of WTI oil fell below $20 per barrel for the first time since 2002, the production level at some U.S. petrochemical plants has fallen to minimum levels.
The Financial Times notes with reference to the opinion of energy analysts that fuel consumption in the USA may fall to the levels of early 1970. The situation for U.S. oil workers is also exacerbated by the “collapse” of export markets, undermined by the widely introduced measures to combat the coronavirus epidemic and the resulting declining economic activity.