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Oklahoma oil producers formally petition state for output curbs

FILE PHOTO: A pump jack operates at a well site leased by Devon Energy Production Company near Guthrie, Oklahoma, September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

(Reuters) - A group of Oklahoma oil producers formally filed a request with the state’s energy regulator asking for a hearing to consider production curbs in response to tumbling oil prices.

The Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance and a group of smaller producers are asking the state’s Corporation Commission, which regulates its oil industry, to decide that current output represents an economic waste with costs of production exceeding sales prices.

U.S. benchmark oil futures have collapsed to around $22 a barrel as the spread of the coronavirus has crushed fuel demand and Saudi Arabia and Russia last month launched an unexpected price war.

Texas regulators on Tuesday separately will hold a hearing on a 20% cut proposed by major producers Parsley Energy and Pioneer Natural Resources. One Railroad commissioner, Ryan Sitton, has been a proponent of those cuts, while other commissioners have rebuked him for suggesting he speaks for the commission. Two of the three must agree to the cuts for them to pass.

Major shale producers, including ExxonMobil and Occidental Petroleum Corp, have filed letters opposing production limits while some smaller producers have supported it.

Reporting by Liz Hampton; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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