HOUSTON — Such is the state of the oil industry these days that there is sometimes nowhere to put the oil. Off the coast of Texas, a line of roughly 40 tankers has formed, waiting to unload their crude or, in some cases, for a willing buyer to come along. Similar scenes are playing out off the coasts of Singapore and China and in the Persian Gulf.
There is little sign that the logjam will ease, as the price of oil continued its yearlong plunge this week, declining by nearly $10 a barrel.
The renewed collapse in crude prices is helping to again drive down gasoline prices for American drivers, to a national average of $2.19 a gallon for regular gasoline on Friday, according to the AAA motor club. That is 9 cents below the price a month ago and 73 cents below the price a year ago.
The slide in oil companies’ fortunes has been significant because of expanded production in Russia, Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states, as well as a slowdown in demand growth in China and the expectation by commodity traders that the Iran nuclear deal will introduce large quantities of oil to the glutted market.