Oil prices on a slick-ery slope: Brent crude slips through $42 per barrel mark and into bear market

Hayley Kirton
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Pennzenergy Company Oil Exploration Drilling Rig In The Gulf Of Mexico During Sunset (Ph
The sun is setting on high oil prices (Source: Getty)

Just when you thought the price of a barrel of oil couldn't tumble any further, it goes and does this.

Brent crude has dropped past the $42 mark today and into bear territory, as the fresh fall places the price hovering around 20 per cent lower than it was back in June.

At time of writing, the price is $41.90. Back in the heady prices of June, the global benchmark set the price of a barrel of the black stuff back at $52.82.

The price hovered just above the $42 per barrel mark for some time earlier today, but slipped over shortly after Exxon Mobil reported a 62 per cent drop in earnings for its first half of the year.

Unsurprisingly, West Texas Intermediate crude, the US benchmark, isn't faring much better and is currently $40.68 per barrel.

There have been concerns about supply outpacing demand in the industry, and therefore driving prices down, for some time now. However, the price has been slipping pretty much ever since. Yesterday, bear territory was hinted at when Brent crude fell to $43.05 per barrel.

While those who regularly have to fill their car up at the pumps might be pleased with the news, the falling price is playing havoc on oil companies' bottom lines.

For example, BP earlier this week reported a fall in its underlying replacement cost profit in its most recent quarterly results, as the average price per barrel for the period dipped to $46, compared with an average of $62 for the same period a year ago.

Still, it could be worse. Back in January, $42 a barrel would have been good going, as the price hovered around the $30 per barrel mark.

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