The plunge in oil and gas stocks could nudge the industry toward a restructuring, as crude oil prices collapse and the rapid spread of the COVID-19 illness threatens global economic growth.

By early afternoon, the S&P Oil and Gas index had dropped more than 25% and was 66% below its level of a year ago. For the year, the index has fallen 59%. On March 9, the Dow Jones industrial average was off 7.5% by early afternoon.

The U.S. benchmark WTI price, which closed at $41.28 per barrel (bbl) on March 6, dropped almost 25% to just above $31/bbl by midday March 9. Global benchmark Brent was off about 24% at $34.44/bbl.

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