FILE PHOTO: US President Donald Trump hosts a coronavirus task force meeting with pharmaceutical leaders to discuss the development of a coronavirus vaccine in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, USA United, March 2, 2020. REUTERS / Leah Millis / File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump has invited oil executives to the White House to discuss potential aid to the industry as the coronavirus pandemic causes historic energy prices to fall, a a source close to the matter said on Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal, which was the first to report the meeting citing unidentified sources, said Trump would discuss a range of options to help the industry, including the possibility of import tariffs. oil from Saudi Arabia.
The meeting is scheduled to take place on Friday, the Journal said, with the participation of major drillers, including Exxon Mobil Corp, Chevron Corp and Occidental Petroleum Corp.
A spokesperson for the American Petroleum Institute, which represents the largest oil and gas companies in the United States, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
World oil prices have lost about two-thirds of their value since the start of the year, as the rapidly spreading coronavirus stops global economies, and Saudi Arabia and Russia flood the oil market in war prices between the main producers.
The collapse in prices has threatened the once thriving US drilling industry, which has a relatively high cost of production, which has led Washington to scramble to find ways to protect the sector.
Trump called the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia crazy this week and spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the issue. The Trump administration also plans to send a special envoy to Riyadh to cut production.
Report by Doina Chiacu and Jeff Mason; Editing by Tom Brown