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Texas oil regulators take no action on production

The sun sets behind an idle pump jack near Karnes City, Texas, Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Demand for oil continues to fall due to the new coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
The sun sets behind an idle pump jack near Karnes City, Texas, Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Demand for oil continues to fall due to the new coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The morning after oil prices crashed negative, Texas oil regulators on Tuesday decided against taking action to impose limits on oil producers, instead creating a task force to gather more information on oil production cuts as the coronavirus has kept much of the world at home, crushing global demand.

The Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the state’s huge oil and gas industry, agreed to postpone until at least May 5 its vote on the issue, which has been widely discussed across the global oil industry for weeks.

Tuesday’s public virtual meeting of the Texas Railroad Commission came a week after the three commissioners heard more than 10 hours of testimony from dozens of oil executives, analysts and critics. The three commissioners — Chairman Wayne Christian and Commissioners Christi Craddick and Ryan Sitton — had not indicated how they would vote, but on Tuesday only Sitton said he was ready to vote.

“Taking weeks, even days right now to act is in itself a choice,” Sitton said. “We are seeing a level of demand destruction and a level of oil industry downturn that in the past happened over a course of years, now happening over a course of days.”