On Monday, President Donald Trump said that his administration was considering the possibility of halting the import of Saudi Arabian crude oil shipments as a measure to support the battered domestic drilling industry.
President Trump was talking with the media persons at a daily news conference. He was asked about requests by some Republican lawmakers to block the shipments under his executive authority. The President said he had heard the proposal immediately before the news briefing.
“We certainly have plenty of oil, so I’ll take a look at it,” he said. Due to the coronavirus crisis, the U.S. crude oil futures collapsed for the first time in history. Futures ended the day at a stunning minus-$37.63 a barrel as desperate traders paid to get rid of oil as storage space was close to running out.
The drop of oil price has threatened to tilt the U.S. oil industry into bankruptcy. The drop was described as short-term and stemming by Trump from a “financial squeeze”. However, he further claimed the oil industry was badly affected as most of the states have imposed lockdown and social distancing to combat the spread of coronavirus.
“The problem is no one is driving a car anywhere in the world, essentially. … Factories are closed, businesses are closed,” Trump stated.
“We had really a lot of energy to start off with, oil in particular, and then all of a sudden they lost 40%, 50% of their market.”
“They have to do more by the market, it’s the same thing over here. If the market is the way it is, people are going to slow it down or they’re going to stop. That’s going to be automatic, and that’s happening,” Trump added.
The OPEC+ has already agreed to reduce the global oil production by some 15 million barrels per day, said Trump. Initially, the Trump administration wanted to purchase the crude oil directed but Congress has yet to approve the funding.