Oil prices are starting to creep higher it’s plunge lower.
In normal times, savings at the pump would benefit Americans.
Yet, the stay at home orders hasn’t allowed Americans to enjoy the reduced prices to fill up their tanks.
By the time the economy reopens, the oil market is expecting to rebound to the March levels.
Take a look:
As of Thursday morning, international oil benchmark Brent was trading at around $30 per barrel. That’s a far cry from last year’s $70 a barrel.
But though we’re now out of the negatives, the oil market is still in hot water.
Lightening the Oil Load
Daily fuel demand has gone down approximately 30% since the start of the pandemic, and oil companies have stockpiles of product they can’t get rid of.
They are paying tankers a record amount to store it off our shores.
And that isn’t even the worst of it. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that global oil demand will drop by 8.1 million barrels per day.
For oil companies, this is bad news.
As drillers and producers run out of places to store their stock of crude, their capacity to continue operating drops lower.
To combat all this, OPEC+ agreed to cut production for the rest of the year, but it will likely take some time for the oil market to recover.
That means that other, more sustainable energy resources could use this opportunity to rise to the top.
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And the main resource for sustainable energy will be solar power.
Moving from Oil Drilling to Solar Energy
The economic slowdown in all sectors during this pandemic is not something that can be overstated.
Solar energy may be included in this slowdown, but it’s faring much better than the volatile fossil fuel industry.
Insiders and analysts are, in fact, expecting to see an economic advantage in the renewable energy industry as a whole.
And if renewable companies and our political leaders play their cards right, they – and you – are in a good position to gain quite a bit out of this unpredictable year we’re having.
With better technology and cheaper prices – in fact, renewables are cheaper to use than fossil fuels – the future of solar is looking very bright indeed.
The Question of Recoverability
Now, you’d be hard-pressed to find any energy company that didn’t register a huge drop in share price when oil prices took a dive.
It’s how they’re recovering that is the important part.
Take a company like Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK).
Duke is a leader in producing solar and wind power alternatives for its customers throughout the country. It has partnered with dozens of different clean energy projects over the years to increase its renewable footprint.
After hitting a low point early in March, its share price barely registered a drop in April, when everyone else was panicking.
The company is planning on continuing its plan to double its renewable energy capacity by 2025, despite the current crisis, but does admit that the coronavirus is a "wild card" in its plans for the future.
But, despite any delays that will inevitably come out of the pandemic, Duke Energy is one of those companies that are likely to see quite a bit of growth as the renewable energy market gains steam.
The Word from the Inside is to Invest
With the economy in shambles and a recent working paper released by the Becker Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago concludes that out of the at least 35 million Americans jobs lost, more than 40 percent will be gone forever.
Those jobs will never return, even once all government restrictions are lifted.
If that turns out to be true, it would mean 14 million Americans languishing in long-term unemployment.
Hundreds of thousands of those Americans could be from the domestic energy sector.
Our energy sector can’t survive with prices at these levels.
A few days ago, Pioneer Natural Resources CEO Scott Sheffield said:
"Nobody wants to give us capital because we have all destroyed capital and created economic waste," Sheffield said. "After 35 years as a CEO, I've never seen a free market.
"If the Texas Railroad does not regulate long term, we will disappear as an industry like the coal industry," he added.
With the 2020 election right around the corner, it’s possible the Democrats take control.
That means the Green New Deal could get traction.
The director of the Climate & Energy Program at Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions has said that "If we’re going to be infusing a lot of capital into the economy to get it started again, we should be investing in the technologies of tomorrow, the technologies that are good for the environment and good for the economy."
She’s right, and not just about restarting the economy.
In the free market, the least expensive to produce wins.
The technologies of tomorrow include solar energy, and the more the fossil fuel industry suffers, the larger solar could get, and the more it will be worth it.
And a company like Duke, which deals with renewable energy, will likely be a strong contender for profiting from it.
In other words, there is a huge potential for profit right at your fingertips the farther into 2020 we go.