US President Donald Trump said he had talked recently with the leaders of both Russia and Saudi Arabia and believed the two countries would make a deal to end their oil price war within a “few days”.
Trump said he had also invited US oil executives to the White House to discuss ways to help the industry “ravaged” by slumping energy demand during the coronavirus outbreak.
“Worldwide, the oil industry has been ravaged,” he said. “Its very bad for Russia, its very bad for Saudi Arabia. I mean, its very bad for both. I think they’re going to make a deal,” said Trump.
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“I’m going to meet with the oil producers on Friday. I’m going to meet with independent oil producers also on Friday or Saturday. Maybe Sunday.
“We’re going to have a lot of meetings on it,” Trump told reporters at a media conference on Thursday.
Global oil prices have fallen by roughly two-thirds this year as the coronavirus has slammed global economies at the same time major producers Saudi Arabia and Russia have started to flood the market with oil.
In the coming meetings with oil executives, Trump is expected to discuss a range of options to help the industry, including the possibility of tariffs on oil imports from Saudi Arabia, according to the Wall Street Journal, which was first to report the planned meetings.
‘Crazy’ price war
Speaking to Reuters on Thursday, a senior Gulf source familiar with Saudi thinking said the kingdom supports cooperation between oil producers to stabilise prices but Russia’s opposition to a proposal last month to deepen supply cuts has caused market turmoil.
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Earlier this week, Trump called Russia and Saudi Arabia’s price war “crazy” and spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the issue.
Top energy officials from the two countries later spoke and agreed to continue discussions alongside other major global oil producers and consumers, according to the Kremlin.
The Trump administration said it is also planning to send a special envoy to Riyadh to push for lower output.
Saudi Arabia’s crude supply rose on Wednesday to a record of more than 12 million barrels per day, two industry sources said.