Texas Railroad Commission passes on putting cap on oil production

The price of oil fell again on Tuesday as the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates oil, was divided about what to do.

The price per barrel for June orders fell 43 percent, to about $11.50. That comes one day after an unprecedented negative $37 dollars a barrel for May orders.

Commissioner Ryan Sitton wanted members to vote Tuesday on cutting oil production in Texas by one million barrels a day if the rest of the oil-producing world agreed to cut production by four million barrels a day starting June 1.

But the commission took no action.

“I'm not sure by law if some of what you've proposed is legal,” said commissioner Christi Craddick.    

Commission Chairman Wayne Christian did not agree with Sitton.

“I think it’s time that we need to get the information correct before we make a move alone and by ourselves in Texas,” Christian said.

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Until demand comes back, the industry won't. Bruce Bullock, director of The Maguire Energy Institute at SMU said the collapse in prices will eventually hurt more than 350,000 who work in oil and gas.

“The longer this goes on, the longer the overall economy's going to feel that,” Bullock said.

He expects prices continue to fall for two reasons: storage tanks are near capacity so there's no place for crude coming out of the ground and the market doesn’t think demand will be back anytime soon.

President Trump tweeted Tuesday he wouldn’t let the U.S. oil and gas industry down, and instructed the secretary of energy and finance to formulate a plan for financial help.

Abbott agreed with Trump’s sentiment.

“They care very much about the oil and gas sector and its impact on the state of Texas the economy in Texas the job sector in Texas but also the bigger picture the bigger picture is that we have become energy independent and that energy independence matters to us as a nation,” Abbott said.

Consumers, in the meantime, can still expect to see low prices at the pump for the near future.


Interactive map of Texas COVID-19 cases

Oil price goes negative as demand collapses; stocks dip