“We had very positive conversations about ensuring this industry has the liquidity it needs to continue to survive,” Sommers said.
Although oil executives didn’t ask for “special treatment,” Sommers said smaller oil companies should get access to Small Business Administration loans and larger ones should be able to tap programs set up as part of the $2 trillion stimulus package enacted last week.
“We want to make sure oil and gas companies that were solvent going into the pandemic would be able to access the same types of programs as other companies,” Sommers said. “The president was clear that would be the case.”
The White House declined to comment.
Market forces will cause US output to drop
Trump told the oil executives during the meeting that he’s optimistic that Saudi Arabia and Russia will reach a deal to end their price war that erupted early last month.
“I think President Putin and the Crown Prince want something to happen badly,” Trump said, according to a White House readout of the meeting. He added that he’s spoken to both the Russian leader and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Although there has been speculation about potential output cuts by the United States, that apparently was not on the table Friday.
“There were no discussions of production cuts in the meeting — outside of market mechanisms,” Sommers said. “We have thousands of producers in the United States. We don’t have authorities within our government structure to shut in that kind of production.”
US oil output, however, will sharply decline because of the plunge to $20 a barrel — a level far too low for many American oil companies to survive.
“There are already production cuts happening in the United States,” said Sommers. “And they are going to be significant, but based entirely on the price of oil, not from a government mandate.”