Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. 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!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

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!

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Trump administration is not planning specific financial aid to beleaguered oil producers, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette told Axios Wednesday.

Driving the news: The administration has taken a few narrow steps. But rumors have been rampant that the government was planning a drastic move ever since President Trump tweeted on April 21 that he ordered Brouillette and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to "formulate a plan which will make funds" available to the sector.

What they're saying: “For the time being, the first steps we’ve taken are going to be what we do. I’m not anticipating any broad strokes here beyond what we’ve already done,” Brouillette said. “We’re not contemplating, as I sit here today, a specific second or third step. It may come if the results of the plan aren’t panning out the way we had hoped.”

The big picture: Nearly all facets of the economy are struggling as Americans have stayed home for weeks in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The oil industry has been facing the one-two punch of cratering demand and an early-March price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Catch up quick: Here’s what the Trump administration has done to help the industry:

  • The Federal Reserve changed the rules to its new lending program on April 30 in a way that allows oil companies to qualify for the aid, a move Brouillette told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday came at least partly at the behest of the administration.
  • The Energy Department is allowing oil companies to store excess oil in the nation’s strategic reserves.
  • Trump and other officials across his administration were pushing Saudi Arabia, other members of the oil group OPEC, and Russia to broker across-the-board cuts in mid-April to help stabilize an imploding oil market.

Where it stands: Those cuts, along with the natural balancing of supply and demand in the market, have helped stabilize oil prices. U.S. oil prices briefly went negative on April 20, but since then both U.S. and global oil prices have been hovering around $20–$30 a barrel.

Flashback: Brouillette’s comments confirm what Politico reported last week — that as oil prices stabilized, the administration’s focus on helping the sector has waned.

What we’re watching: Brouillette praised comments made recently by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) that support the government buying oil to fill the strategic reserve, per Politico. This move is more significant than the Energy Department allowing companies to temporarily store oil there.

  • “We think those are positive steps,” Brouillette said of Hoyer’s comments. “I do think there is growing support for funding purchases for oil to put in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.”

Go deeper: Oil sector poised to bounce back from the coronavirus

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Updated Aug 17, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Trump administration finalizes drilling plan for Alaska Arctic refuge

Polar bears in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Sylvain Cordier/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

The Interior Department on Monday finalized plans to open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, a pivotal — but hardly the final — step in a decades-long battle over the ecologically sensitive region thought to hold huge oil deposits.

The big picture: Former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign said he would look to prevent drilling if elected. "His plan released last year made clear that he will permanently protect ANWR and other areas impacted by President Trump's attacks on federal lands and waters," the campaign said.

The social media addiction bubble

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Right now, everyone from Senate leaders to the makers of Netflix's popular "Social Dilemma" is promoting the idea that Facebook is addictive.

Yes, but: Human beings have raised fears about the addictive nature of every new media technology since the 18th century brought us the novel, yet the species has always seemed to recover its balance once the initial infatuation wears off.

Young people's next big COVID test

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Young, healthy people will be at the back of the line for coronavirus vaccines, and they'll have to maintain their sense of urgency as they wait their turn — otherwise, vaccinations won't be as effective in bringing the pandemic to a close.

The big picture: "It’s great young people are anticipating the vaccine," said Jewel Mullen, associate dean for health equity at the University of Texas. But the prospect of that enthusiasm waning is "a cause for concern," she said.