WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Thursday that he expects Saudi Arabia and Russia will dramatically cut production and end an oil war that sent energy prices to record lows.
But the Kremlin disputed part of his tweet, leading to skepticism that a deal was imminent.
A global glut in production, coupled with an economy reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, has sent energy prices to lows not seen since 2002. Trump tweeted Thursday that he had spoken with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, just days after talking to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the matter.
Trump tweeted; “I expect & hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10 Million Barrels, and maybe substantially more which, if it happens, will be GREAT for the oil & gas industry!” He also tweeted that Prince Mohammed bin Salman had spoken with Putin, and later tweeted the presumed production cut could be as high as 15 million barrels.
But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin and the prince have not spoken recently. "No, there wasn't such a conversation," he said, according to Russian state news agency Tass.
Nevertheless, U.S. benchmark crude climbed more than 20% Thursday after Trump's tweet. Even with those gains, prices are down 60% from the start of the year.
Saudi Arabia called for an urgent meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC producers Thursday, just weeks after triggering the price war with Russia that sent oil prices plummeting.
Russia’s refusal last month to extend and deepen production cuts with OPEC and its de facto leader Saudi Arabia sparked immediate backlash from Riyadh, where oil policy is largely dictated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The kingdom slashed oil prices last month and vowed to ramp up production to more than 12 million barrels a day.