Chris White Tech Reporter April 24, 2020 4:54 PM ET
The U.S. Coast Guard is monitoring a situation in which dozens of oil tanker vessels are floating around the Southern California coast as they wait to dock while the country wrestles with what to do with the current glut in crude.
Oil companies are storing excess supplies on giant vessels as the country and industry ponder how and where to offload the oil. There were 27 oil vessels churning up waters just off the Southwest Pacific coast Thursday, according to a press statement from the USCG.
“Due to the unique nature of this situation, the Coast Guard is constantly evaluating and adapting our procedures to ensure the safety of the vessels at anchor and the protection of the surrounding environment,” Cmdr. Marshall Newberry said in the statement.
Newberry is managing the traffic jam from Los Angeles, California.
He added: “Coast Guard watchstanders, in partnership with the Marine Exchange of Southern California, are closely monitoring each anchorage to manage the increased number of tank vessels we’re seeing off the California coast.”
The Coast Guard is responsible for maritime safety, security and the environmental conditions of the country’s ports and waterways. (RELATED: ‘Uncharted Territory’: Energy Analysts Worry Oil Prices Could Fall Below Zero, Forcing Producers To Radical Measures)
The traffic jam came as the oil industry faces serious headwinds as consumer demand for crude fell off a cliff after U.S. officials enacted economic lockdowns to slow the spread of coronavirus, which originated in China and is reportedly responsible for more than 150,000 deaths worldwide. Oil prices fell below zero Wednesday as producers struggle to give away their oil.
Saudi Arabia, Russia and other oil-producing nations’ intent to continue producing despite shrinking demand played a part in the calamity. President Donald Trump played a role in getting Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to drop output, bringing production to 9.7 million barrels a day. But the deal is unlikely to show results for another month, experts said.
The U.S. Coast Guard has not replied to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.