As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, plant production and transportation demand have fallen, which has also led to a decline in overall oil demand and lower oil prices.  On February 15, 2020, the International Energy Agency forecast that demand growth would fall to its lowest level since 2011, with growth of 325,000 barrels per day over the full year, to 825,000 barrels per day and a decrease in consumption of 435,000 barrels per day in the first quarter.  Although global demand for oil has declined, a drop in demand in Chinese markets, the largest since 2008, triggered an OPEC summit in Vienna on March 5, 2020. At the summit, OPEC agreed to further cut oil production by 1.5 million barrels per day by the second quarter of the year (a total production cut of 3.6 million barrels per day compared to the original 2016 deal), with the group forecasting the policy on June 9 at its next meeting.  OPEC has asked Russia and other non-OPEC+ countries to comply with the OPEC decision.  On March 6, 2020, Russia rejected this request, marking the end of the unofficial partnership, with oil prices falling 10% after the announcement.   EU Heads of State and Government agree on an economic package. European Union leaders have reached an emergency agreement to counter the worst economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The Netherlands, which had led opposition to calls from southern European nations for access to simpler credit lines, finally had to compromise after German Chancellor Angela Merkel called a phone conversation between Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Conte had warned earlier in the day that a failure of a deal could lead to the end of the EU. Under the agreement, countries will have access to credit lines from the European Stability Mechanism, also known as the EU`s rescue fund, provided spending is limited to direct responses to the pandemic. The agreement also strengthens the lending capacity of the European Investment Bank and a new unemployment insurance programme.
On March 8, 2020, Saudi Arabia launched a price war with Russia, which allows for a quarterly drop of 65% in the price of oil.  In the first weeks of March, US oil prices fell by 34%, crude oil by 26% and Brent oil by 24%.   The price fight was triggered by a breakdown in dialogue between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia over planned oil production cuts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  Russia left the agreement, which led to the fall of the OPEC+ alliance. . . .