Still, oil analysts foresee extreme energy sector pain: File Image/PixaBay
Crude enjoyed another day of minimal but much-needed gains on Wednesday as U.S. senators reached an agreement on a $2 trillion stimulus bill to combat the economic fallout of the coronavirus; Congress was expected to pass the bill immediately.
West Texas Intermediate rose 48 cents to settle at $24.49 per barrel, while Brent rose 24 cents to settle at $27.39 per barrel.
As expected from media, doomsday comments from analysts took precedence on Wednesday, with the respondent of a Dallas Federal Reserve Bank oil and gas company survey quoted as saying, "We are entering into the single worst reset in energy prices in my lifetime."
Robert Davey, microbiologist, Boston University
We are very hopeful that things will work
Another was quoted as saying they were in "survival mode now."
John Kilduff, founding partner at Again Capital Management, contributed by observing that "This reminds me of the aftermath of the 1998 price crash and what it did to our productive capacity for the next decade."
Meanwhile in Canada, Ottawa is debating ways to backstop banks to ensure they allow oil companies to access existing and new lines of credit, thus preventing massive job losses; the energy industry has also reportedly asked for cost relief, including postponement of royalty collection and waiving or deferring Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance premiums, as well as federal sales tax.
But the real solution to the current chaos would be effective coronavirus treatments and a vaccine, and on those fronts remarkable progress continues to be made and under reported, including the disclosure from Scripps Research Institute on Wednesday that the the virus is not mutating quickly and therefore the vaccines currently in clinical trials may be key in ending the pandemic.
Also, Robert Davey, a microbiologist at Boston University (which contains one of a handful of labs in the U.S. than can screen thousands of treatment drugs), began testing potentially live-saving drugs against a live coronavirus sample on Wednesday and said he is "very optimistic we can find something as quickly as possible."
He added, "We learned how to grow the virus, it's good to get to know your enemy, and we will start testing on human cells ... as soon as this Friday.
"We are very hopeful that things will work."