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Negative Oil Has Hamm’s Continental Invoking ‘Act of God’ Clause

  • Continental tells refiner it can’t deliver crude after plunge
  • ‘It is the height of hypocrisy,’ refinery trade group says
An American flag flies on top of a rig in the Bakken Formation of North Dakota.

An American flag flies on top of a rig in the Bakken Formation of North Dakota.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
Updated on

Shale explorer Continental Resources Inc. told at least one refiner it couldn’t make an oil delivery after the global pandemic sent prices plunging, a move refiners called the “height of hypocrisy” following billionaire founder Harold Hamm’s calls to limit foreign imports.

Oklahoma City-based Continental on Tuesday declared force majeure on at least one of its contracts to deliver oil to a fuel producer, according to a document seen by Bloomberg, a day after crude futures settled at a negative per-barrel price for the first time in history. In the document, Continental said it couldn’t have foreseen the dramatic rout caused by the coronavirus outbreak, and that selling oil at negative prices constitutes waste.