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This Week’s Market Buzz


•    Following an unprecedented global crash, oil prices climbed at press time on signs that the global economy is moving towards a slow reopening, and inventory data shows storage demand for the commodity rising slower than expected. West Texas Intermediate crude climbed as much as 20%, to $18 per barrel. Meanwhile, international benchmark Brent crude rose 14%, to $25.75 per barrel, at intraday highs.

•    Oil companies have cut back on drilling and fracking new wells, shedding more than 2,000 jobs in North Dakota. Another 6,000 oil patch workers could lose their jobs “before things start turning around,” North Dakota minerals director Lynn Helms said Tuesday. “The rig count has dropped dramatically – we have lost about 40% of our drilling rigs,” he said.

•    U.S. Silica Holdings Inc. announced additional cost reductions of approximately $17 million in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lower North American oilfield well completion activity. The company has closely monitored industry proppant demand to align costs with market conditions and is taking necessary actions including workforce reductions, 401k match suspension, elimination of 2020 raises for salaried employees, reduced senior executive salaries and curtailed operating hours at several facilities. "The decline in oil demand resulting from COVID-19 has driven a precipitous decline in crude oil prices resulting in lower expected near-term demand for well completion products and services such as our frac sand and last mile logistics offerings,'' said Bryan Shinn, chief executive officer. ''The strategic actions announced today, along with our balanced business portfolio of industrial customers, will position us well to continue to outperform our competition in the short term and emerge from the economic downturn in an advantaged position."