President Trump spoke on the phone Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss stabilizing global energy markets, which have been heavily impacted by decreasing demand from the coronavirus pandemic, the White House and Kremlin said in statements.
The Kremlin says the two leaders discussed the current situation of the global oil market, "including an agreement being worked out as part of OPEC-plus to reduce production volumes in order to stabilize world oil prices."
On the call, the second in two days, Trump talked about the contacts he's had with leaders of a number of oil-producing countries, the Kremlin said. "It was agreed to continue Russian-American consultations on this topic," the statement said.
They also discussed measures both nations are taking to combat the spread of infection and other bilateral issues, including cooperation in space.
White House spokesman Judd Deere confirmed the nature of the conversation.
Trump had spoken earlier with Putin and King Salman of Saudi Arabia about the OPEC negotiations. The United States is interested in a deal because the oil price crash has caused thousands of job losses in the oil patch just as the virus outbreak is causing a record spike in unemployment.
“There’s so much production nobody even knows what to do with it, that’s how it’s working,” Trump said at a White House news briefing Thursday.
The oil market was already oversupplied when Russia and OPEC failed to agree on output cuts in early March. Analysts say Russia refused to back even a moderate cut because it would have only served to help U.S. energy companies that were pumping at full capacity. Stalling would hurt American shale-oil producers and protect market share.