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24 Apr 2020

Center for International Environmental Law

Pandemic Crisis, Systemic Decline: Why Exploiting the COVID-19 Crisis Will Not Save the Oil, Gas and Plastic Industries

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...the crisis is...spurring unprecedented lobbying by some of the world's largest corporations. While some of these lobbying efforts seek legitimate government support to help companies, workers, and communities confront an economic and social emergency, others seek to exploit the crisis to advance preexisting corporate agendas. The oil and gas industry is among the most active in these lobbying efforts worldwide...in early April...nine oil industry executives met with the US President in an effort to secure additional government intervention on the industry's behalf.

The pandemic has caused massive declines in demand for oil and gas...a price war, itself triggered by the COVID-19 crisis...has driven oil prices to unprecedented lows. As a result, major oil companies have seen their stock prices plummet to the lowest levels in decades...The present report documents how COVID-19 exacerbates this collapse and details how long-term systemic declines in the oil and gas industries, as well as problems in the petrochemical industry, had been accumulating for years before the pandemic emerged...

The oil, gas, and petrochemical industry is now exploiting the catastrophic global pandemic to aggressively push its preexisting corporate agenda, including regulatory rollbacks, suspension of environmen-tal law enforcement, criminalization of environmental protest, and direct government bailouts in a growing number of countries. The underlying risks facing the industry, however, remain unchanged. The imminent systemic decline of the oil and gas sector should serve as a stark warning to public officials and private investors alike as they consider allocating limited and vital resources to these companies...

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Extractive companies' response to the Covid-19 pandemic

Report argues that oil, gas and plastic industries should not benefit from regulatory rollback in response to Covid-19, due to lack of financial viability