Bailing out the oil industry brings a fate worse than death

FINANCIAL TIMES 🔒| Whenever things went wrong growing up, my dad would tell me, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” Dying was supposed to be the worst-case scenario. He never mentioned zombies. But that’s what a bailout for the oil industry would create: zombie companies that can’t earn the cost of staying in business, kept afloat with taxpayer dollars. The oil patch in the US has been hit by a double whammy. The Saudi-Russian fight for market share helped drop the price of West Texas Intermediate, the American benchmark, to just above $20 a barrel. Then came coronavirus lockdowns, and an unprecedented collapse in demand for oil. While Easter Sunday’s Opec+ deal should reduce the supply glut, it is dwarfed by demand problems: fell to around $18 a barrel on Friday.

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