Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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, coronavirus-fueled collapse in demand.

Driving the news: The OPEC+ group led by Saudi Arabia and Russia begin meeting remotely later Thursday morning to discuss production cuts, to be followed by a virtual Friday meeting among G20 energy ministers that includes the U.S.

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.

  • President Trump and the Energy Department are not offering firm commitments, instead pointing to what are slated to be market-driven declines in U.S. production.
  • DOE's independent statistical arm projects that U.S. production will start falling significantly, dropping to roughly 11 million barrels by year-end and staying there in 2021. That's roughly 1.8 million barrels per day below levels at the end of 2019.

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.

  • The global benchmark Brent crude has risen significantly in recent days on the prospect of an agreement, but at roughly $34-per-barrel, it's around half the early January price.

What they're saying: Goldman Sachs' analysts, in a new note, say that a coordinated cut is "now more likely than not."

  • But "the key question will be whether its size and timing will improve global oil balances sufficiently to support prices above current levels."
  • Even a coordinated cut of 10 million bpd, they write, would not be sufficient. And, a larger cut in the 15 million range would be a heavy lift at the talks.
  • Overall, the magnitude of the demand shock points to more near-term pressure on prices, they note. Reuters has more on their analysis.

The intrigue: U.S. lawmakers are ramping up pressure on Saudi Arabia ahead of the talks.

  • Yesterday nearly 50 House GOP lawmakers, led by Minority Whip Steve Scalise, wrote to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman urging cuts.
  • The letter include the not-so-subtle warning: "The U.S. military presence in the Middle East region has maintained the stability that provides for the economic prosperity and ensures the security of our two nations."

Plus, the White House has not ruled out the prospect of imposing tariffs on Saudi and Russian oil.

Go deeper: EIA forecasts U.S. oil boom will reverse amid coronavirus

Go deeper

32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.

Staff for retiring Senate Republicans a K Street prize

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The retirements of high-profile Senate Republicans mean a lot of experienced staffers will soon be seeking new jobs, and Washington lobbying and public affairs firms are eyeing a potential glut of top-notch talent.

Why it matters: Roy Blunt is the fifth Republican dealmaker in the Senate to announce his retirement next year. Staffers left behind who can navigate the upper chamber of Congress will be gold for the city’s influence industry.