COVID-19 vs ASEAN Energy Sector: Oil and Gas
Monday, 11 May 2020




Zulfikar Yurnaidi and Silvira Ayu Rosalia

Key Points

  • The prolonged COVID-19 pandemic has spread its impact across various sectors, including Oil and Gas. For the first time in history, the price of US crude oil went negative in the third week of March amid the deepest fall of demand in the last 25 years, worsened by oversupply.
  • Plunge in demand, supply glut, and plummeting price—even touching minus point—have made oil and gas market gloomy especially in ASEAN countries. Actions taken by governments around the world to curb the spread of COVID-19 like lockdowns or movement restrictions forced the fuel demand to go down. Furthermore, the rig market that was initially set to grow is now going the opposite way and put oil drilling projects at risk. The slowdown in aviation activity due to stringent travel restric-tions also led the jet fuel refining margins to turn negative for the first time in over a decade. Not only affecting companies, but the COVID-19 also led fuel demand sink and global supply cut is also impacting countries that depend heavily on oil and gas sector as well.
  • Amidst the chaos caused by COVID-19 outbreak, optimism can still be seen from the oil and gas sector. Even so, some positive impacts may be felt by oil importing countries, while fuel price reduction to some degree can ease the social effect of COVID-19. Although this might be a signal of economic slowdown, optimism remains and keeps oil and gas sector afloat in this troubled period.  For instance, despite the negative impacts due to the fall of oil prices, the low prices could somehow benefit the importers of oil products, such as LNG.

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