[Editor's note: This story was updated at 12:08 p.m. CT April 27.]
Oklahoma's governor has called on U.S. President Donald Trump to declare the coronavirus pandemic an "act of God," a step to help oil-producing states contend with a crude glut that caused futures prices to close below $0 last week for the first time.
"Over-production of oil continues to threaten the economy," Gov. J. Kevin Stitt said in a letter to Trump that Stitt posted on Twitter late on April 26.
Declaring a "force majeure" or "act of God" would allow oil companies to halt operations without risking that land leases will be canceled for stopping production, Stitt said.
Oklahoma's energy regulator said April 22 that current production can be considered "economic waste." That may allow producers to close money-losing wells without losing their leases, in what was viewed as a for struggling U.S. oil companies seeking relief from states after the market crash.
U.S. production reached a record-high of near 13 million bbl/d late last year, but the pandemic has cut global consumption by 20% to 30%, or up to 30 million bbl/d.
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