The specter of minus-$100 oil is behind us. Admit it, you felt a touch of morbid curiosity to see if the price would plum­met to new record depths, just to say you were there when it happened and only if it were as short-lived as in April. As the June prompt month contract for WTI approached in May and Cushing storage was anticipated to reach tank tops simultaneously, a harder repeat of the April sell-by date—when WTI plunged ever-so-briefly to minus $37—was feared.

It didn’t happen. In fact, on that day, WTI settled at $32/bbl, a much sunnier day than the predicted storm. In January when oil was com­fortably above $60, $30 would have sound­ed atrocious. Now, after WTI languished in the teens and low $20s for the better part of a month, $30 is a welcome reprieve. At the minimum, it signals price stability. At best, it represents a mile marker on a steady if slow upward trend.

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