I wanted to update everyone on where Crawford Oil and Propane is at with handling the unprecedented novel coronavirus situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone as try to ensure that everyone stays safe and healthy. Crawford Oil and Propane is considered Essential Services for the State. So right now, we are not anticipating any shut down of our delivery service. However, we are making some changes at all our properties to make sure we operate as safely as possible.
Starting immediately, our office will be closed to all customers. Payments can be mailed or done online. You can also call the office and make arrangements over the phone. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we feel it is necessary to stop the potential spread within our office staff and drivers. Drivers will also no longer be able to accept payments on the truck. We are practicing safe social distancing of six feet. All payment arrangements can be made directly online, through mail, or feel free to call our office. Our hours of operation are remaining the same, but could change in the future.
Our two gas stations are continuing to stay open and will do so with limited staffing for the time being. We are also limiting hours of operation and the offerings available in the store. We apologize for the inconvenience but we feel the changes are necessary to combat further spreading the virus.
The situation is changing day by day, and sometimes hour by hour. I will continue to keep you updated as best I can. For now, I ask that everyone take care of themselves, have patience, and know that everyone is doing the best they can to get through this situation. I know many people are scared and have a lot of questions. We all do and are all in this together. But I believe that we will get through this and come together stronger in the end. I will continue to keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.
I know that this message finds many of our customers scared, confused, and anticipating answers. Please know that Crawford Oil and Propane is taking all necessary precautions recommended by the CDC and Gov Evers here in Wisconsin. Please take a moment to read up on the CDC website to best stop the spread of the virus. We can calmly work together to stop the COVID-19 spread and hopefully watch this virus leave us as quickly as it came.
The markets have been on the most volatile roller coaster possibly since 2008. Crude oil prices have traded in a range of over $6/barrel all week. The main driver has been the potential for demand destruction with COVID-19. As prices fell this week, the FED made a surprise announcement to make an emergency cut to interest rates, the most since 2008. The announcement sent WTI crude prices higher for a bit but leveled off around $47/barrel. OPEC yesterday announced an emergency cut of additional 1.5M barrel/day production cut which sent prices much higher for the day. OPEC is trying anything to keep prices from falling off a cliff. But the markets calmed after learning that Russia might not agree to the cuts. This morning, Russia announced they will not comply with the proposed cuts to production. WTI broke through the support level of $45/barrel and fell lower to $43/barrel on the news. Basically, we are in a cycle that no matter what anyone tries to do, COVID-19 rules the day and all markets believe we will experience the worst pullback over the next few months probably since 2008. In addition, COVID -19 could return in the fall with vengeance, which is why the race to a vaccine is so important to stabilize the world wide fears. For now, regardless of how these situations turn out, we are preparing for lower prices on crude for longer.
Retail prices on gasoline and diesel moved lower this week along with the markets. If we do not experience any positive news with COVID -19, I could see retail prices on gasoline fall below $2/gallon.
Propane prices are not being affected by these markets. Propane is working on strict fundamentals for the moment. There is a lot of propane in inventory, and prices just can’t go much lower or the product will be burned off through the petro-chem facilities. For now, we can enjoy lower propane prices probably for the next year. In addition, winter is winding down. At this point in time, we are currently 10% colder than the warmest winter on record, but 10% warmer than last year’s winter.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to give us a call.