Futures prices for oil fell into the negatives for the first time in recorded history Monday, further straining a Wyoming economy already reeling from months of price declines, continuing strife in the coal industry and the shutdown of numerous businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
West Texas Intermediate oil contracts for the month of May plunged nearly 300 percent to nearly negative $38 per barrel ahead of Tuesday’s expiration date to purchase May contracts — one of the largest price drops in history.
Prices are likely to rebound on Tuesday when trading begins for the month of June. (June prices are already trading at around $21 a barrel — slightly above the $18 per barrel prices seen last Friday.) But the unprecedented decline is a symptom of continuing downturns created from an ongoing price war between Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Saudi Arabian oil producers that, since kicking off earlier this spring, has caused precipitous drops in oil prices around the globe.