Oil Demand Dropped 25% and Could Go to Half

Oil prices have dropped to $20 per barrel and that is for the most expensive oil. There is cheaper oil at $10 per barrel.

Oil demand has dropped 25% as no one is driving. Companies like Whiting Petroleum are filing for bankruptcy.

The oil will still exist. Oil and gas assets will be purchased out of bankruptcy.

The COVID-19 shutdowns mean 2 billion people are staying at home, so transportation usage has cratered.

The amount of purchases and economic activity has cratered. This means less industrial activity.

Oil and gas wells and rigs are being shuttered. This process of shutting and eventually restarting has many technical issues and delays.

Norwegian consultancy Rystad Energy said oil prices could fall as low as $10 a barrel if the economic impact of the coronavirus dents global oil demand by 16 million barrels of oil a day. The analysts said on Monday it may revise its oil demand forecasts lower from next month.

The oil and gas industry is facing a year or two of global depression scale impact. This will have lasting geopolitical and global economic consequences.

SOURCES- Investors.com, The Guardian
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

94 thoughts on “Oil Demand Dropped 25% and Could Go to Half”

  1. It will pass because both the unlucky or the stupid people have been already infected or will be in three months so they won’t be spreading it. The rest of the population will maintain social distancing until they feel more secure so they won’t be spreading it either.

    They show this weird graph on the TV that looks like a normal curve. A infectious virus that kills or you become immune to has only two modes: It flies to the sky or it crashes and burns. If you watch NYC, you will see what I mean. The number of new cases will quickly hit bottom.

  2. On these definitions, everywhere I walk isn’t walkable, and everywhere I bike isn’t bikeable.

  3. Next challenge is to make cities and suburbs bikeable! In Europe that means (ideally) physically separated bike paths

  4. As I said somewhere in the thread this design philosophy mostly ended in the 90s. Since then they’re attempting to make smaller light retail, light commercial, light industrial areas integrated into suburban design. Hard to do in many cases where you have massive established areas of nothing but residential housing tracts.

  5. Ah yes.
    I knew there was some disconnect. I assumed “unwalkable” meant “you can’t walk”. Like the road started 3 cm from your front door.
    The english speaking world: divided by a common language.
    Good thing I’m not a town planner – I’d have heard people ask for a more walkable suburb and given them more footpaths, not more coffee shops… say… you guys HAVE explained what you mean to your town planners haven’t you? They aren’t sitting in their office, baffled, because they put a footpath on every street and people still complain it isn’t walkable.

  6. What does that have to do with anything? You’re making an incorrect assumption that I’m going to keep the car for 10 years or more, which may or may not require a battery replacement. I can tell you for a fact that after 10 years I’m probably going to be up to 200,000+ miles on a car which is going to require an engine rebuild and probably a transmission rebuild. I ditch cars at that point, it’s not worth the expense.

  7. Anecdote: was chatting with mom (retiree) yesterday and she said 4 women (retirees) in her ‘garden club’ (Mom is president of said garden club don’t ya know) came down with COVID19 after taking a car-ride with a symptomatic 5th woman, who had recently been on a cruise. My guess is the car-ride took place on about 03/10. The 5th woman got irritated when the driver scolded her for coughing and took her back home after a few miles. Apparently all the women in the car got COVID19; one woman gave it to her husband, who had been recuperating from a stroke – he died last week. All the women are getting over the bug without hospitalization or terrible symptoms – one husband knocking on death’s door, well, stepped through the door.

    Conclusion: This is a basic cold for the typical retiree except is spreads WORSE THAN MEASLES.

    So, the COPD/strokers/cancer survivors et. all need to HIDE. The rest of us could have worked through this and been none the worse for wear – besides the 1/10000 young people that succumb. Shutting down the economy was THE WORST DECISION I’ve ever seen in my years. I have to find a way to take advantage of the typical person’s fears – to make money. FEAR IS AN INCREDIBLY powerful force – demonstrated by C19.

  8. President Trump is going to allow oil producers to use the excess capacity of the Strategic Oil Reserve to temporarily store the excess production. The big salt caverns in TX and LA are about 85% full, but still have over 100 Mbbl available. Trump wanted to buy the excess at a cheap price for the Reserve, but US House said no.

  9. Anyone who has a glass, a jug, a barrel, an ULCC or a strategic petroleum reserve is filling to the brim with the cheap stuff. Tanker rates went from $20k per day to over $300k in less than a month and now account for about 1/3rd of the crude cost.

    Fun fact. The US SPR in the Gulf fits about 700 million barrels, or about 180 supertankers, or about 5 weeks worth based on normal demand.

    It is just a matter of time before demand comes back and prices go up. Shale is not going away – it changed everything in the business, from an inelastic production model (due to capex and time to develop new fields), to an inelastic marginal cost model. easy to start and stop and easy to drive costs down.

    The Saudis are driving prices down because they want to destroy Iran’s production and remove China as Iran’s main buyer. Just look at where all the tanker charters are going….
    Iran is already in deep problems, this is the coup de grace.

  10. I think you miss the meaning of ‘walkable’, it doesn’t mean physically able to walk, although that is actually an issue in some places, no sidewalks! It means not able to walk for a coffee in less time than it would take an average work break for example.

    If I walk to Starbucks and back on my break and take 45 minutes, my boss will not be too happy.

    I once tried walking my 2-year old in a stroller in Bermuda, had some terrifying moments with cars on blind curves, with no sidewalks. Google maps now warns you, if you request walking directions, that your route does not have walking paths.

  11. From my side of the pond, the only Chevrolet coupe that I am aware of is the Corvette, and that comes standard with a small block V8 (since the big block got canned by our hated overlords).

    I googled “Chevrolet Coupe” and google suggests there is also the Camaro.

  12. Google shows me suburbs with big, wide, grassy verges and usually actual footpaths. What am I missing?

  13. Dude, I’ve lived in two of them and there are thousands more just like them in almost every large city all over North America. They were designed with the car at the center of life, starting in the 40’s and continuing into the late 90’s.

    Google “north american suburb design” and have a look

  14. If you ever explain to a housewife from the 50s that she didn’t do any work, please notify me first so I can stand at a safe distance.

  15. It doesn’t have to be the same gas stored for ever, you rotate the stock every 6 months. Empty and use reservoir 1, then fill it again. Next month, empty, use and refill #2, you get the idea, it’s not complicated.

  16. At this stage the shift is inevitable, but the speed of the shift is affected by the cost of alternatives.

  17. I’ve heard about these “unwalkable suburbs” but I’ve never encountered one.

    And a duckduck on the phrase gives me lots of people complaining about them, but no actual examples.

  18. The Canadian Federal carbon tax went into effect a year ago. It’s about 4% and in most cases shared with the provinces.

  19. Work from home is awesome when it’s a choice, especially on an occasional basis. But the biggest issue is the suburbs are not designed for working from home. If you work in a city you can walk a block to a nice sandwich shop or a restaurant. In the burbs you need to hop in your car for almost anything at all as there is usually zero walkability.

  20. Amortize the initial excess cost too. A gas tank is cheap, batteries are not. Look at opportunity cost on the money too. Many factors other than cost of electricity.

  21. An excellent idea Goat, planning for the future with the storage and stockpiling of critical materials. You just have to convince the business major types that such long term planning is in their best interests, and everyone else’s.

  22. Even at the current price of gas in my area, my 500e is still just over twice as cheap to run per mile than the Cruze it replaced, which got a consistent 34.5-34.9 mpg average over my usual route and my driving style, over a six year period. I’m an anal car records keeper.

  23. Cheap oil has one major economic advantage. It could make more expensive renewable fuels much cheaper if they’re mixed together.

    Carbon neutral gasoline can be derived from renewable methanol derived from urban garbage and sewage, agricultural waste, dead trees from forest or from the synthesis of hydrogen and CO2 using nuclear and renewable resources. But renewable gasoline would be relatively more expensive than gasoline derived from petroleum.

    But mixing relatively expensive renewable gasoline with ultra cheap gasoline derived from petroleum could make such– cleaner fuels– as cheap or cheaper than gasoline was just last year.

  24. Now there’s talk the overall distribution system itself is nearing maximum storage capacity (land storage tanks filling up, tankers idling offshore, underground repositories also filling up).

    A really ugly situation is storage limits cause refineries, which really do not like to shutdown, to stop. Getting those restarted later is going to a huge pain.

  25. Strategic Coffee Bean Reserve. Genious! While they’re in the law passing and money spending mood … do something useful for a change guys!

    note: I saw this coming weeks in advanced and stocked up on coffee beans. The spice must flow.

  26. He needed the working capital, didn’t expect the influx of bux. Stocks are not a good commodity hedge, introduce too much risk. The hedge, in my opinion is to invest in new station etc make yourself more productive. Tesla got free loans from everybody on their initial holding money and used it in a productive fashion. I thought the folks who forked over the money were suckers, but it’s a free country.

  27. Hard to make sense of the lethality of the virus.

    China’s, Iran’s numbers aren’t grounded in reality.
    Italy, Spain look really bad and they are probably representative of what can happen.
    On the other hand how many people are asymptomatic? Hard to say.

    I look at Singapore with excellent testing, good healthcare, and who yesterday had 1000 cases with 3 deaths. Deaths lag diagnosis so maybe Singapore will have 5 deaths per 1,000 cases. That would be 5,000 deaths per million cases.

    In the US that rate go up to around 1.5 million deaths, pretty bad. A bit pass COPD.

  28. A widespread prophylactic coupled with successful treatment would make it “go away” simply because the chance of contracting is reduced and the consequences of illness are reduced. We’ll probably keep the parents locked up at home, keep working at home if possible and treat each other like lepers.

  29. When Iran implodes due to low oil prices that collapse their budget then it won’t matter. If that happens then oil goes up in price and frackers start fracking.

    In the meantime US fracking assets would be sold for pennies on the dollar if a company goes under and the wells will continue to pump.

    Bankruptcy doesn’t mean things go away, it just means things can be purchased for much less money.

  30. We already built the Yucca Mountain facility. It was going to be used for nuclear waste, but they only wanted the jobs involved in digging it. When it came time to put waste in there…they said no.
    But there are lots of old mines. You want to waste space in warehouses, that you would probably have to build. Why?
    Warehouses are for things you will be putting in and taking out fairly regularly. Old salt mines and other mines and such are better for stuff that will be stored potentially for decades.
    Big blocks of rubber? Fine. I don’t have a problem with that.
    I thought we already had strategic reserves of some of the things you mentioned. But my Internet searches came up dry. I know we had various reserves in WW2.

    I guess you really don’t want to be without your coffee. Maybe we need a chocolate reserve as well 😉

    I found a list at least: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/05/18/2018-10667/final-list-of-critical-minerals-2018

    No copper. Maybe we produce enough?
    Rubber, and oil are not there either. But that probably is because they were searching for “minerals”.

    It would be interesting to drop one of those “500 lb rubber blocks” from a helicopter a couple thousand feet up onto concrete…just for scientific curiosity 🙂

  31. People have been predicting the next pandemic since 1919.
    This isn’t a black swan. It’s a grey rhino. Rare, but absolutely within the list of things that we knew were out there. And still really dangerous to blunder into.

    All this “black swan” nonsense is people trying to duck the blame for not being prepared.

  32. if you were to convert say 50% of the blue collar workforce to at home

    The problem there is that blue collar work in particular is not particularly easy to do from home.
    White collar work, sure. That’s mostly processing information, which travels easily over the internet.
    But blue collar is processing physical things, and that just doesn’t work too well.

  33. A pessimist in the room sounds like a sage, and the optimist a fool. Pessimists extrapolate present trends without accounting for how reliably markets adapt. As for education and where I live, you know nothing. Personal insults are for those who cannot make an argument. What is it in our history that would lead you to think that dire predictions and fear mongering will come to pass? If I can solve your top 20 problems, you will have 20 more. We have been here before and will be a million times more. It is the ingenuity of man, and the entrepreneurial angels that will save us, not government and it’s bureaucracies.

  34. Government caused this problem to be worse. CCP anyone?Unintended consequences abound from gubmint interference in the markets. CDC/FDA testing fiasco! We do not live in a risk-free world.

  35. Rich people make choices with their money that ordinary people do not. Range, upfront cost, TCO, winter driving, long lines to recharge, time to charge, list goes on. It’s not just battery price. Studies have shown that without new battery chemistry, cost on batteries may not fall as much due to raw material costs not dropping. Some think prices could go up not down.





  36. Long way to go, but ALL technology changes over time. We don’t use whale blubber anymore to light our homes.

  37. If these are Russia’s plans I think that would be a reckless gamble.
    The people with the experience and skills in fracking will still be around in 20 years time, and as long as there are experienced people it should not be difficult to re-start the industry. Neither Russia nor OPEC can live very well on the low oil prices for any length of time.
    We are living in fast changing times and in 20 years time oil may not be as important for energy as it is today.

  38. Sometimes the government is best equipped to deal with issues…especially when caused by the actions of other nations. Should we stick our heads in holes when Russia tries to mess with our economy? What I propose may look more extreme, but that is only because the tactics are unusual. It is far more artificial and damaging to the market to impose tariffs or block trade, or make some sort of concession to the bad actors. The government just serving as a buyer where losses will be unlikely, is far less disruptive and less likely to result in retaliation.
    For rational lawmakers every measure must be evaluated on its own merits, not pigeonholed and spat on because of what hole you decided to fit it in. That is being an ideologue.

    And, yes, I have hundreds of these things. Creative government is a good thing. You haven’t seen 1/20th of what I propose.

    You prefer to be a victim?

    All the things China has done to build its infrastructure and manufacturing you would have opposed. But they worked. Sure there are policies we don’t think are acceptable…mostly the paranoid actions of their government…but they now have more highways than us. Though those paranoid actions were in no way needed to do any of what they have achieved.

    Would you be happier with every road a toll road? You think you would pay less in tolls than the tax at the pump plus the car registration fee? Not a chance. The road owners would totally have us over a barrel.

  39. Decades… if sealed against gasoline’s propensity to ‘suck water out of air’. Water (plus oxygen) produces a host of gummy compounds, none of which are good for the engines that burn it.  

    But sealed?  Sealed with expansion-contraction locks?  Just fine. Forever.

    I found some 1 gallon square metal “white gas” (Col*m*an) cans of my father’s, in which he stored a ‘rainy day supply’ of regular gas from the 1960s. A lot of it. Maybe 25 gallons.  He collected those cans from everyone who had them. All had interesting metal-and-paper seals that apparently would last forever.  

    Anyway, poured some out into a bunch of 1 liter Erlenmeyer flasks, to see what would settle out.  NADA. Perfectly clear, to the last drop. Moreover, I let some of it evaporate in a glass dish, to see if polymerization residuals were abundant.  Almost none.  Maybe 1%.  And I’m not sure if that wouldn’t have been the case had I done the same thing in 1965 with the brand-new gasoline.  

    Sealed, metal, air-tight cans work great.

    Same would go for an entire salt-mine full of the stuff.  

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  40. Its true.

    I fear our over-reaction is going to be the downfalling of civilization’s current unprecedented period of individual prosperity.


  41. I like the sentiment. Invest in stuff which normally is a predictable supply-and-demand (seasonally adjusted) chain. You don’t need to predict tire types. Just wrap 500 lb blocks of raw rubber in plastic, then “shrink wrap” them for darkened warehouse storage. No need to ship them to Outer Mongolia (or Nevada).

    I’d say the same thing though about quite a few other resources that we depend heavily on, from the world. Cobalt, titanium, tantalum, tungsten, zinc, copper, copper! COPPER!. Quinine!!!!  Coffee beans (which actually get substantially better when stored for years unroasted), 

    IF we are (as I hope) going to become “woken” from the wake-up-call which this pandemic response fiasco is to afford us, we will see that having a 2 to 5 year supply of critically important raw materials, or pre-deployment products … is vital, IF we are also as woke-people, going to drag mining, farming, machining, design and development of those critical things, back in the Good Ol US of A.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  42. Pardon if it seems like I tend to punt your quips, but … well … low-and-slow just demands a hit.

    WHY should CV crisis pass in around 3 months?

    Because we’re out of the woods?
    … or the Government has decided it can’t wait any longer?
    … or the magic cure is invented?
    … or 250 megadoses of vaccine are in pharmacies near you?
    … or Europe demonstrates that the All Clear Even With Walking Sick is OK?
    … or China comes ‘clean’ on its numbers.  1 or 2 more zeros on cases, deaths.
    … or for some odd reason, equatorial world seems largely unaffected


    In one calendar month, we USA have gone from 75 cases March 1, to 200,000 March 31. Now, while I grant that without any kind of comprehensive testing, the “75” number is artificially low, but still … with doubling every 3–4 days, getting 500× out of the numbers is shocking-as-well-as-sobering.

    Clearly, we aren’t going to go another 500× in April. Maybe 10× as social distancing works. And another 5× in May. And 3× in June. 30,000,000 by July 4th.  

    Unless … government decides that pervasive enhanced-barrier protocols are required for all employees, all customers, all shoppers, all stockers, all Amazon employees, delivery people, food-service workers, and Janitors.  


    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  43. That use to be the norm. But now most women work outside the home so a little over 50% of us work.

  44. The price should climb back up once the Corona Virus crisis passes. In around 3 months the price should start to rise again.

  45. You’re correct; Iranian oil is worth $0 on the open market at present. Fracked oil costs at least $30/barrel more than that, as a matter of fact, fracked oil is just a little more expensive than Saudi oil. I’m not worried about the people that own fracked oil wells. The oil will still be there after this crisis.

  46. The text to thought ratio is low in your post.

    Russia and Iran produce oil cheaply but need it to be very expensive to run their economies. At $15 a barrel their governments are badly in the red.

  47. It looks like you copy-pasted from somewhere & the formatting got messed up to make things unreadable. Could you just give the link you got that from?

  48. Who would have imagined the black swan event was going to be a global nervous breakdown instead of a comet or a real plague that endangered more than just COPD patients?

  49. I’m going to put a smallblock v8 in my ’84 Chevrolet coupe and commute in this car once martial law is lifted – seriously. I found a car with 20,000 original miles on it – like a time machine.

    I only commute 15 miles a day. I won’t drive it in the winter or in the rain.

  50. Electric cars are already dominating the luxury market. Batteries only need to get about 50% cheaper to dominate completely.

  51. I will not deny that, but it took a killer virus to figure it out. My guess is if you were to convert say 50% of the white collar workforce to at home, server based and converted all coal fired energy to solar and wind, while maintaining current levels of NG, nuclear (maybe add a little) and hydro for base load. It’s possible, for the US at least, to meet the Paris Climate Accords. Going from coal to solar/wind and a bit more nuclear (call that a 5-7% reduction) and reducing vehicle traffic through at home work for a good chunk of commuters, maybe 25% traffic reduction (call it a 2.5-5% reduction), would do allot on its own for a very small cost, if any.

  52. You need to study more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer
    What kind of panic do you think there will be when the aquifers run dry and the farmers can’t water their crops?
    100,000,000 is probably overkill. But the idea is sound. Most people will likely opt out, but the fraction that want the security and the cheap water will certainly help municipal and farm water go further.
    In San Diego, there was a period where we were not allowed to water our yards because of shortages. I now have dead trees. San Diego in summer can be a very brown place. And water is expensive. But we get storms and flooding. If I had cisterns that could catch all that rainfall instead of it going down the storm drains, I could have green year round.
    You either don’t live in the Southwestern US, or you are uneducated.
    People like me don’t run things because the electorate is not too bright or not well educated about infrastructure, the mechanics of our way of life and ecology on average. They prefer lairs, flatterers, conventional thinkers and divisive ideologues. And then there is the need for campaign contributions from people who expect to profit from some favor they want that harms the public, generally in the form of higher costs/taxes, from the supported politician.

  53. In the late 80’s early 90’s, I forget, gas prices dropped really low. A station owner I worked for offered as much gas as you wanted to pre-purchase. Some dude driving a Jaguar asked him, “unlimited?” Owner said, “as much as you want”. Dude comes back with a check for $10,000. Owner about shat himself. Great for short term cash flow, but there was no way to hedge the price. Owner took a bath on short term thinking.

  54. Good ole petrol is getting cheaper and electric cannot currently compete. This dynamic will go on for some time. Battery energy density and charge times have to get orders of magnitude better to compete. It’s quite a few years off.

  55. If you go bankrupt in the U.S., it costs you your job. If you bankrupt your country, it costs you your head…possibly.

  56. There is a shift in industry that is going to eventually nudge gasoline powered vehicles out of the way. As cleaner technology becomes more efficient, it will be more widely adopted. It’s going to be a while, sure. But it’s going to happen whether people like it or not.

    That doesn’t mean oil is going anywhere. We need it for so may other things, until there is something more efficient that eventually replaces it. We’ll just all be using less of it, and not for vehicles. We may live long enough to see that happen, or the timeline for that happening might outlive us. But, it doesn’t change the inevitability.

    But heck, who knows? We could use it in space industry manufacturing for a long time to come.

  57. The price war bit is interesting, as apparently the sudden demand drop is putting ARAMCO is a tight financial pinch that might force them to sell some assets. Saudi Arabia can’t continue the price war with ARAMCO hurting that badly, but Russia/Iran might be willing to continue, as their suppliers are not really open/public share companies in the conventional sense like ARAMCO became. That, or OPEC members will start collectively toeing the line again to save themselves…

  58. Electric vehicles need even more tires because everyone likes burning rubber in electric cars.

  59. Well if the Dems want to lose Pennsylvania and Ohio then that is their call to make.

    Of course it is all probably part of the plan to once again win the national popular vote.

  60. The government could also make large orders of high quality tires. All sizes. Put them in Yucca mountain. Quality tires use several barrels of oil in their manufacture. We can make lots of large tractor tires, bus/semi tires, other truck tires, rubber pads for tank treads. A ten year reserve of tires would be a great asset. Of course we would have to insist on quality and testing. Perhaps dip then in some kind of wax like they do with cheese, so they will last decades in storage.
    Even if all the vehicles are electric in the future, they will still need tires.
    You get lemons cheap…make lots of lemon aid, lemon bundt cakes, lemon tarts, lemon oil…

  61. We could file a suit with the WTO, and fill strategic reserves but, this is what I would do next:
    I would get a hundred million plastic 10,000 gallon underground cisterns made. That would use a lot of plastic which would use a lot of oil. The cisterns can then save rainwater so people can have gardens using their own water in all the areas prone to drought. And many for farms as well.
    Good for the environment. That oil would not be burned. And less water would be taken from the rivers and aquifers making homeowners, farmers, and environmentalists happy.

  62. This, the US companies will simply bankrupt and get bought up worst case.
    Saudi and Russia need oil money to run.
    And as some below says Saudi an Russia has an price war running.

  63. The ones that go bankrupt will be swept up by competitors and the talent that was bought out will go nowhere but with new corporate badges.

    Its called consolidation, sport.

  64. The demand side certainly has a big impact, but it seems odd not to mention the oil price war. I suppose it is secondary, in that Russia and the Saudis saw COVID-19 would slash oil demand and so create an opportunity to attack the US oil industry.

    The Dems made sure the oil companies weren’t included in the first bailout package. I think that probably means they intend to pressure the oil companies to invest heavily in renewables and stringent reductions of methane releases.

  65. Can’t wait to see my next oil dividend check. Other than that, not exactly the end of the world.

    Brian, recall your previous posts forecasting US future oil production and domination, one can never be certain what the future holds.

  66. Somewhat ludicrous to think that Iran and Russia will survive $15 a barrel oil but we all know that you need to cheer for your team.

  67. We need to keep the skeleton of the fracking industry intact and ready to start pumping oil in a short notice as Russia is conspiring to use the pandemic to destroy it and later join OPEC in curbing production in order to let prices go up again.

    That may require placing tariffs on oil imports that are going to be renewed, to provide funds to keep the fracking industry alive, but with prices so low it is not a big issue.

  68. So to curb greenhouse emissions they key is to have as many people as possible work from home.

  69. I can see the headline…Low oil prices killed the electric car…. Long live the gas guzzling carbon emitters…

  70. The nice thing about shale oil is you can turn it off and on. Poor Vlad doesn’t have that option. Russian wells would have to be re-drilled if they shut them down …. because, permafrost. Saudi can sell as much oil as they like … until someone bombs Abqaiq again. The Iranians are just f*cked.

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