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Trump to consider halting Saudi oil imports, says U.S. has 'plenty'

CommoditiesApr 21, 2020 01:00AM ET
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© Reuters. U.S. President Trump leads daily coronavirus response briefing at the White House in Washington

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Monday that his administration was considering the possibility of stopping incoming Saudi Arabian crude oil shipments as a measure to support the battered domestic drilling industry.

"Well, I'll look at it," Trump told reporters at a daily news conference after he was asked about requests by some Republican lawmakers to block the shipments under his executive authority.

Trump 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.

U.S. crude oil futures collapsed to trade in negative territory for the first time in history on Monday, amid a coronavirus-induced supply glut. 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 collapse in prices has threatened to tilt the once-booming U.S. oil industry into bankruptcy.

Trump described the drop as short-term and stemming from a "financial squeeze," but said the oil industry was hurting from a lack of demand, as states have imposed stay-in-place restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

"The problem is no one is driving a car anywhere in the world, essentially. ... Factories are closed, businesses are closed," Trump said. "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."

He said the global producer group known as OPEC+ had agreed to cut production by some 15 million barrels per day, and said weak prices could force more declines for economic reasons.

"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 said.

Trump reiterated that his administration plans to top up the nation's emergency crude oil stockpile as prices plunge.

The Department of Energy is in the process of leasing some of the roughly 77 million barrels of available space in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to U.S. oil companies to help them deal with dearth of commercial storage as the coronavirus outbreak crushes domestic energy demand.

The administration initially wanted to purchase the crude oil directly, but Congress has yet to approve the funding.

Asked if he still wanted lawmakers to approve the funding, Trump said the space in the SPR would be filled either way.

Trump to consider halting Saudi oil imports, says U.S. has 'plenty'
 

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Comments (45)
Harry Hall
HarryH Apr 22, 2020 4:35PM ET
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So he wants to take US on the forefront destroying free markets?
Dutch East
Dutch East Apr 22, 2020 6:00AM ET
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Its is certainly a marvel to watch this man in action.....Trump refuses to allow the market to pick the winners and the losers. For a man who claims to be one of America's top capitalist .....the honesty truth is Trump is easily in the same league as democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. Man cannot keep his hands out of the punch bowl.
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 5:10PM ET
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Trump getting disparate suggestions bailed out for oil 😳🙄
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 4:16PM ET
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Guess we could work at fast food plenty of them I’m kidding I’m sure trump already thought that
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 4:13PM ET
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Cmon November way too many small business to accommodate either go back to work wear a mask or forget what I said
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 4:04PM ET
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After hours futures miserable 5:00 gonna continue
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 3:52PM ET
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Tomorrow gonna be more brutal
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 3:45PM ET
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Hope there more stimulus money to use congress and senate could care less about us pheasants trump needs to put whole country on welfare until further notice I’m sure his apple dumpling gang aren’t missing food or anything
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 3:35PM ET
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Wait till 2:55 for accelerated selling it’s coming
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 3:24PM ET
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Senate just now has agreed to terms ********and still has to vote hs dragging their feet cmon November
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 3:21PM ET
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Trump ain’t fired nobody lately nobody left lol
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 3:17PM ET
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Trump needs to be removed from office
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 3:14PM ET
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Who’d ever thought a virus and oil would collapse us oil won’t stabilize until the virus calms down
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 3:08PM ET
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-1000 by close the real selling always waits till the end
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 2:55PM ET
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Trump is finally out of cards to play so sad so bad nothing like a deep recession to ruin re-election 😢
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 2:52PM ET
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The selling will accelerate at 2:00 no dip buying oil is gonna doom the markets I don’t own it 🎉 not even oil services 🥳
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 2:48PM ET
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This virus will continue to haunt trump clear into the election time if he looses he will not care probably demands recounts
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 2:44PM ET
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It’s great trump can’t juice the markets 🎉out of his control markets won’t come back until oil does not for awhile might be bargain hunting nothing big the Donald has met his match
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 2:22PM ET
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Gonna be an ugly close selling will continue until notice no buying even bargain hunting unemployment is gripping everything
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 12:36PM ET
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We are going back to session lows then to-1000
franklin neversoy
franklin neversoy Apr 21, 2020 10:55AM ET
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Ughly close-1000 plus
Rod Deh
Rod Deh Apr 21, 2020 9:05AM ET
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Saudi Arabia owns the largest refinery in the United States..... they can just shut it down under protest. we have many others but the south will be hit hard
Caitlin Ball
Caitlin Ball Apr 21, 2020 3:56AM ET
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The petrodollar is in severe trouble.
Fred Smith
Fred Smith Apr 21, 2020 3:23AM ET
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Saudi Arabia is no longer need. USA has plenty for ourselves.
Kwong To
Kwong To Apr 21, 2020 3:23AM ET
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US shale oil industries are sure to go under at today's oil price.
Jason Zou
Jason Zou Apr 21, 2020 1:55AM ET
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Why halt it, if price is negative? Let them ship oil and money to US!
 
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