Apr 3, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Trump reluctant to intervene in imploding oil market

President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

President Trump indicated Friday he’s unlikely to take major steps to prop up oil prices and help an industry imploding as coronavirus chokes oil demand.

Why it matters: The pressure is now on for a planned Monday meeting of OPEC and other producing nations to strike a deal absent big action by the U.S. government. If that falls through, the industry could plunge even further into the abyss. Prices, now hovering below $30 a barrel, could breach $10, some experts say.

Driving the news: After meeting with oil-industry executives Friday afternoon to discuss options to help the ailing sector, Trump seemed to only endorse finding more places to store oil.

  • That move would be a small and fleeting band-aid.
  • Trump also said he isn’t thinking of imposing tariffs on oil imports as of now, an idea pushed by some domestic producers.
  • The industry itself is divided on the scope of help the government should offer.

The big picture: As the pandemic threatens lives around the world, it’s shutting down a global economy driven by oil consumption. This, along with a related price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, is sending oil prices into a tailspin and producers scrambling to stay afloat.

What they’re saying: Despite tweeting earlier this week that he had talked to leaders of both Saudi Arabia and Russia, Trump suggested Friday that he wants to stay out of it. “Ultimately the marketplace will take care of it. I think they are going to work out their problem fairly quickly,” the president said.

What we’re watching: Whether Texas or other producing states bypass the federal government to try to hash out a deal to curtail production.

What to watch: Monday's virtual meeting is planned with Saudi Arabia, other members of the Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries, Russia — collectively known as OPEC+ — and possibly other producing nations.

Go deeper: Trump calls to fill up more places with oil

Go deeper

House Democrats pull FISA reauthorization bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats pulled legislation Thursday that would have renewed expired domestic surveillance laws and strengthened transparency and privacy protections amid broad opposition from President Trump, House GOP leadership and progressive Democrats.

Why it matters: The failure to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) comes as Trump continues to attack the intelligence community, which he claims abused the law to surveil his 2016 campaign and Trump administration officials.

U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter

Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy shrunk by an annualized 5% in the first quarter — 0.2% worse than initially estimated — according to revised figures released by the government on Thursday.

Why it matters: It's the worst quarterly decline since 2008 and shows a huge hit as the economy was just beginning to shut down because of the coronavirus. Economists are bracing for the second quarter's figures to be the worst ever — with some projecting an annualized decline of around 40%.

44 mins ago - Economy & Business

The end of the beginning on energy companies' net-zero carbon pledges

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Activist investors' push to make the world's largest energy companies commit to ambitious climate targets is entering a new phase.

Why it matters: A key thing to watch now is whether and how energy giants start providing more granular information on how to transform the pledges into concrete steps.