Oil contracts for May went to unusual, negative territory

Oil prices have ended New York trading in the negative for the first time everMore

"Threats of war have always been an important factor in increasing the oil prices", Hamidreza Azizi, Visiting Fellow at the German Institute for global and Security Affairs (SWP) has told RT earlier.

There are mitigating circumstances to these insane numbers. This comes after May WTI contracts traded for -$37.63 a barrel on Monday.

The difference between the expiring May U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude contract and the coming June contract widened to a record at more than $60 a barrel and settled at $51.90.

"If you start to look at the actual supply-demand situation for oil, it's not so obvious that by the time those contracts expire, the storage situation around Cushing will be very different than what it is in May", said Martijn Rats, Global Oil Strategist at Morgan Stanley, in a Bloomberg Radio interview.

Commercial crude oil inventories in the USA rose by 15 million barrels, or 3%, to 518.6 million barrels for the week ending April 17, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.

Azerbaijan's Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil project will also have to cut output sharply from May to fulfill commitments under the deal, four sources told Reuters.

The coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns around the world have seen demand for oil dry up, and storage space is running low.

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"Concern continues to mount that storage facilities in the United States will run out of capacity", ANZ said.

Available storage space is dropping fast at the Cushing, Oklahoma, hub, where physical delivery of USA oil barrels bought in the futures market takes place.

Crude stockpiles at Cushing - America's key storage hub and delivery point of the WTI contract - have jumped 48% to nearly 55 million barrels since the end of February.

"It's clear that Cushing is going to fill, and it will stay full for the next several months", said Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates.

The deal also brought an end to a devastating battle for market share between Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation.

In a sign of the level of oversupply, the US Energy Information Administration said crude inventories in the world's biggest economy rose by 19.25 million barrels last week. But consumption is down about 30% globally, and the cuts so far are far less.

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