How a coronavirus vaccine will impact oil demand

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With positive news surfacing from several pharmaceutical companies regarding a coronavirus vaccine, former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister discussed on “Mornings with Maria” on Tuesday how the developments could impact gas consumption.

Hofmeister said he has “no doubt” that oil demand will rebound, but added that he thinks “it’s going to take longer than people expected.”

The coronavirus pandemic continues to sap fuel demand, even with an uptick since March when the country faced lockdowns in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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Brent crude and the U.S. oil pricing benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, increased around 27% in November, the biggest monthly gains since March after COVID-19 vaccine developments raised the outlook for an economic recovery that could boost fuel demand, Reuters reported.

“I think oil consumption remains below what it was when COVID struck and I think it will remain below what it was probably for the next six to 12 months,” Hofmeister told host Maria Bartiromo on Tuesday.

He noted that people’s habits and patterns have changed since the pandemic.

“There’s just a whole lot less commuting going on, less vacations, less travel, but mostly less flying and I think people are going to be reluctant to get back on the airplane quickly,” Hofmeister said.

“It will come back,” he continued. “I have no doubt in my mind it will come back, but I think it’s going to take longer than people expected because there’s not going to be a snapback to the way we used to behave and the way we used to operate.”

Moderna is the latest contender to announce the filing of emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine.

The company said it expects to have up to 20 million doses available by the end of 2020, and up to 1 billion doses available globally in 2021. The shot, which is a two-dose jab, would be ready to ship within weeks of approval, according to the company.

Pfizer has already filed for the emergency authorization and the FDA plans to decide early this month. AstraZeneca has also indicated that it is preparing to file an emergency use authorization.

Even without a vaccine available as of yet, data from The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) indicates that more people are traveling now compared to the onset of the pandemic.

On Sunday, about 1.2 million people returning from Thanksgiving trips passed through TSA checkpoints, according to the data, which recorded 2.6 million travelers on the same day the year before.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
USO UNITED STATES OIL FUND L.P. 30.62 -0.35 -1.13%

On Tuesday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil slipped 25 cents to $45.09 per barrel as OPEC members postponed a decision on production until Thursday.

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Bartiromo asked Hofmeister if he thinks $45 a barrel for oil is “the right price.”

“Currently in today’s market it is, but I think realistically for the industry to be healthy and to make the long-term investments that are needed we really need to be north of 60 of dollars a barrel, in my view,” he responded.

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Fox News’ Alexandria Hein and Joshua Nelson contributed to this report.

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