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Historic Oil Glut Amassed in the Pandemic Almost Gone

  • About a fifth of stockpile surplus remains as of February
  • Tightening has propped up prices, concerns consumers
Oil storage tanks in Cushing, Oklahoma.
Oil storage tanks in Cushing, Oklahoma.Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
Corrected

The unprecedented oil inventory glut that amassed during the coronavirus pandemic is almost gone, underpinning a price recovery that’s rescuing producers but vexing consumers.

Barely a fifth of the surplus that flooded into the storage tanks of developed economies when oil demand crashed last year remained as of February, according to the International Energy Agency. Since then, the lingering remnants have been whittled away as supplies hoarded at sea plunge and a key depot in South Africa is depleted.