Trump said Thursday afternoon that he believed the oil cartel would soon reach an agreement, noting that he had just spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin and King Salman of Saudi Arabia. He said it was in the interest of all oil-producing countries, including the United States, to curb production.
“The numbers are so low that there will be layoffs all over the world,” Trump said at a press conference in the White House, apparently referring to oil prices. “There will certainly be layoffs in this country, and we don’t want that to happen. “
The Saudis engaged in a price war with Russia after Moscow refused to accept a Saudi proposal in early March to cut production to cope with a sharp drop in demand due to the pandemic of coronavirus. The spat threatens to overwhelm the oil markets, including the United States, with an excessive supply of crude.
OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo acknowledged in his opening remarks that the oil glut had put his organization in a weak position. The Saudis, for example, have loaded huge volumes of crude oil onto tankers but would be hard pressed to find buyers for all of the oil.
“Our industry is hemorrhaging; no one was able to stem the bleeding, “he said, according to the text of his remarks published on the OPEC website. “It is imperative that we take urgent action. “
Some producers in the United States also have difficulty selling and storing oil. Analysts at Wood Mackenzie, a research firm, said in a webinar Thursday that the storage tanks at Cushing, Okla., Probably the largest of these sites in the United States, were filling up at record speeds, putting pressure on prices.