Afternoon Coffee: OPEC’s supply cuts rally prices; Google stops building AI tools for energy sector; Amazon reopens French warehouses


OPEC has said that the market is responding positively to historic oil supply cuts announced last month, Reuters reports. The organization has cut oil by 9.7 million barrels per day since May 1 to offset falling demand and a massive supply surplus that caused prices to go negative for the first time on record due to coronavirus disruptions.

Although prices have rallied since the supply cut began, they are still below the needs of several countries. OPEC and prominent oil producers, such as Russia, are expected to scale back supply reductions in July and will review the current supply cut agreement in a virtual meeting on June 10.

Google won’t build AI tools for energy industry

Google has announced that it will no longer create custom AI tools for oil and gas drillers, The Associated Press reports. The move comes after a report from the environmentalist group Greenpeace showed that Google, Amazon and Microsoft actually went against their own climate change pledges by partnering with major oil companies.

Google will honor existing contracts with customers, but won't be accepting any new ones. In the past, Google has faced internal protests by employees attempting to persuade the company to commit more fully toward combating climate change. Tech rivals Amazon and Microsoft will continue working with the energy industry.

Amazon warehouses reopening in France

Amazon is gradually reopening its six warehouses in France over the course of three weeks after being closed since mid-April, The Associated Press reports. The warehouses closed due to a court ruling that Amazon had not done enough to protect French workers from the coronavirus outbreak. The closures badly damaged Amazon’s French business, as it occurred during the height of the pandemic.

French union workers led the legal proceedings against Amazon, claiming that the company took too long to provide masks and sanitizer to workers, nor did it properly adhere to social distancing precautions. The new safety measures being put in place at the warehouses will be monitored by an independent expert to enforce stronger social distancing rules and reduce the amount of people allowed to work at once.

Trucking industry begins to pick up volume in U.S.

The trucking industry in the U.S. is beginning to see a rise in traffic for inbound and outbound movement, Supply Chain Dive reports. The news comes after the industry slowed during the coronavirus pandemic, hitting a low point at the end of April.

Stay-at-home orders across the country are expiring and seasonal trends will likely continue to increase traffic. The current uptick is due to a 5%-10% rise in volumes of food and beverage, consumer packaged goods and retail products.

SAP to continue dividend policy during COVID-19 crisis

SAP, the German-based enterprise application software giant, has said that it expects to continue its dividend policy even as demand declines during the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports. SAP reported a 1% quarterly operating gain in April, but lowered its earnings forecast to decline by 1%-6% for the year.

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