Trump Says U.S. Might Join Saudi Arabia, Russia in Talks on Oil Prices

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would join Saudi Arabia and Russia, if need be, for talks about the sharp fall in oil prices resulting from a price war between the two countries, Reuters writes.

“The two countries are discussing it and I am joining at the appropriate time if need be,” Trump told reporters at the White House, adding that he had had “great” talks in separate conversations with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials have for now put aside a proposal for an alliance with Saudi Arabia to manage the global oil market, according to three sources with knowledge of the matter, an idea one of them said came from White House national security advisers, Reuters added.

That the concept was even considered at high levels reflects both the depth of the crisis facing the global oil industry as well as its growing importance to the U.S. economy. A few weeks ago, proposals for Washington to work together with oil producers to curb supply to the global market would have been dismissed for violating U.S. antitrust laws.

But prices for oil LCOc1 have slumped to an 18-year low because of the twin hits of the coronavirus pandemic slashing energy demand and a price war between top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia, threatening higher-cost U.S. and global drillers with bankruptcy.

The idea of a U.S.-Saudi alternative to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Saudi Arabia is the de facto leader, “has been floated but not at the stage of something that is being seriously considered,” said one of the sources, who all spoke on condition of anonymity.

The two other sources said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette discussed the alliance idea with President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien, but that nothing was decided.

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