Association Webinars: Covid-19 Impact on North American Oil and Natural Gas


The panel analyzed the impact of Covid-19 on North American oil and natural gas markets, which have been hit especially hard by the virus and lockdown response. On Monday April 20th prices for the NYMEX futures contract for May deliveries of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil at Cushing, Oklahoma went negative, reaching a low point of -$40.32 per barrel. The contract was due to expire the next day, which would have forced traders with open buy positions to accept delivery of oil with no available storage capacity. The panel will review the reasons for negative pricing. Critically, will the scene repeat itself when the June crude oil contract expires? Or, will enough oil be shut in or stored to bring the market into balance and avoid another round of negative prices? How will reduced oil demand and supply impact the U.S. import-export balance?

Natural gas markets have, so far, avoided the turmoil experienced by the oil market. However, demand has dropped, and the market too is in surplus, with spot prices well below $2 per million Btu. Will reduced oil drilling have longer-term consequences for gas supplies? How will declining power demand impact gas-fired generation? What will be the consequences for LNG exports?


Sam Van Vactor Economic Insight, Moderator.
Sam heads a firm of consulting economists specializing in energy and natural resource issues. He has counseled a variety of major oil and gas companies and authored numerous articles about the energy industries, including An Introduction to the Global Oil & Gas Business, from PennWell Publications. He has taught energy economics at the University of Oregon and the University of Tulsa; he previously served as an economist at the U.S. Treasury and the International Energy Agency. Sam earned a PhD from the University of Cambridge.


Jeffery Currie, Goldman Sachs, global head of Commodity Research, Speaker.
Jeff is responsible for conducting research on commodity market dynamics in the context of corporate risk management programs, short- and long-term commodity investment strategies and asset allocation. Jeff is also a member of the Growth Markets Executive Committee. Over the years, the commodities research team has consistently been ranked number one under Jeff's direction and in 2011 he was named the CNBC Analyst of the Year by City A.M. Jeff joined Goldman Sachs in 1996 and was named managing director in 2002 and partner in 2008. Prior to joining the firm, Jeff taught undergraduate and graduate level courses in microeconomics and econometrics at The University of Chicago and served as the associate editor of Resource and Energy Economics. Jeff also worked as a consulting economist, specializing in energy and other microeconomic issues, at Ernst and Young, LLP and Economic Insight, Inc. In addition, he has advised numerous government agencies in the United States, the European Union and Russia. Jeff earned a PhD in Economics from The University of Chicago in 1996.

Ronald Ripple, R.D. Ripple and Associates, Speaker.
Ron is currently an independent energy economist, and President of R. D. Ripple & Associates. He was the Mervin Bovaird Professor of Energy Business and Finance in the School of Energy Economics, Policy, and Commerce in the Collins College of Business at The University of Tulsa between 2013-2019. Ron took up the position lecturing in the TU Master of Energy Business Program after spending nearly fourteen years in Australia, plus another year in Hong Kong. Dr. Ripple has studied oil and natural gas markets since 1981, getting his start in the Office of the Governor of Alaska. He wrote his PhD dissertation on Alaska North Slope natural gas, and recently authored a chapter on the Geopolitics of Australia Natural Gas Development for the joint Harvard-Rice Geopolitics of Natural Gas Study. In addition to these studies, Ron has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, trade press articles, and reports, typically focusing on oil and natural gas markets and the financial derivatives markets that support them. Ron currently provides research consultancy to the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Les Deman, Principal of Les Deman Energy Consulting Company, Speaker.
Les advises corporations, government agencies, investors and others on energy and commodity markets. He was previously Director of Fundamental Research & Analysis at Shell Energy. Les has also worked for Texas Eastern, Tenneco, El Paso, Duke, TransCanada and W.J. Levy Consultants. He was also Assistant Director of Policy Analysis at the Texas Railroad Commission. He has served as a task group leader on the National Petroleum Council's 2003 Natural Gas Study and has served on the Board of Directors of the International Association for Energy Economics and other energy industry associations including the American Gas Association, the Gas Research Institute and the Independent Petroleum Association of America. Les has degrees in statistics and economics. He has authored a variety of publications on the energy industries.


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