Welcome back. Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,104 words, a 4-minute read.
🎵 Monday will bring the birthday of the great soul singer Al Green, who has today's intro tune...
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The next two days will be pivotal for determining whether large oil-producing countries can partially stabilize an industry reeling from very low prices and the historic, pandemic-fueled collapse in demand.
Driving the news: The OPEC+ group led by Saudi Arabia and Russia begin meeting remotely later this morning to discuss production cuts, to be followed by a virtual Friday meeting among G20 energy ministers that includes the United States.
Where it stands: Russia has signaled that it's willing to cut production by 1.6 million barrels per day, or roughly 15%, per multiple reports. Saudi Arabia was also discussing a cut of 15% to 17% on Thursday, delegates said, asking not to be identified because the talks were private, according to Bloomberg.
But, but, but: It's not clear how much the U.S. posture might limit the scope of a potential deal or muddy the path to reaching one.
Reality check: Even a new deal is unlikely to bring prices back to anything close to where they were before the outbreak spread, due to the near-term demand loss that some analysts see in the range of 25 million–30 million barrels per day.
What they're saying: Goldman Sachs' analysts, in a new note, say that a coordinated cut is "now more likely than not."
The intrigue: U.S. lawmakers are ramping up pressure on Saudi Arabia ahead of the talks.
Plus, the White House has not ruled out the prospect of imposing tariffs on Saudi and Russian oil.
New analysis from a University of Chicago energy think tank takes stock of the steep declines in power consumption in multiple regions stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
Why it matters: While the stunning drop in oil demand is forcing a geopolitical reckoning (see today's top item), changes in electricity consumption provide their own metric of economies thrown into reverse.
What they found: Fiona Burlig, an assistant professor of public policy at UChicago, says the U.S. decline already matches what happened during the great recession over a decade ago.
Go deeper: Another Way to See the Recession: Power Usage Is Way Down (New York Times)
Joe Biden isn’t about to become Bernie Sanders, but he’s signaling that there’s potential for more common ground on issues such as health care, student debt, climate change and more in the weeks ahead, Axios' Alexi McCammond and Margaret Talev report.
What to watch: As Biden courts Sanders' endorsement, their teams will hold policy discussions in the next few weeks with the expectation that Biden will incorporate some elements of Sanders' agenda, a person familiar with those plans tells my two colleagues.
Reality check: There's no chance Biden will adopt Medicare for All as part of those discussions. But he could at least move in Sanders' direction on big issues like health care and climate change, as well as others like labor and corporate responsibility.
What's next: Pro-Sanders groups on the left flank of the environmental movement, such as 350 Action, signaled yesterday that they'll push Biden too.
Go deeper: The energy stakes of Bernie vs. Biden
New analysis from the consultancy Rystad Energy shows the remarkable plunge in demand for jet fuel as the COVID-19 pandemic freezes much travel, Axios' Amy Harder reports.
The big picture: Global oil demand for jet fuel has evaporated to 35% of normal levels in April and May, consultancy Rystad Energy projected Wednesday.
What we're watching: Rystad predicts that jet fuel demand will gradually pick back up, but by December will still be far lower than pre-coronavirus levels.
Big Oil: "Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund has amassed stakes worth roughly $1 billion in four major European oil companies, according to people familiar with the matter, buying assets it perceives as undervalued in a market depressed by the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices." (Wall Street Journal)
Congress: "A group of powerful Republican senators wants to make sure the bailout program being administered by BlackRock Inc. on behalf of the federal government won’t leave fossil-fuel companies behind." (Bloomberg)
Electric vehicles: "Rivian, the electric truck startup looking to bring vehicle manufacturing back to downstate Normal, will have to wait until next year to begin production." (Chicago Tribune)