President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says he raised M in March Rosie O’Donnell predicts Trump will ‘lose by a landslide’ in November Treasury Department releases .9 billion in payroll support for airlines MORE on Tuesday floated providing funds for the oil and gas industry after oil saw its largest market drop in history the day prior, with prices sliding to as low as negative $40 per barrel.
“We will never let the great U.S. Oil & Gas Industry down,” Trump tweeted. “I have instructed the Secretary of Energy and Secretary of the Treasury to formulate a plan which will make funds available so that these very important companies and jobs will be secured long into the future.”
We will never let the great U.S. Oil & Gas Industry down. I have instructed the Secretary of Energy and Secretary of the Treasury to formulate a plan which will make funds available so that these very important companies and jobs will be secured long into the future!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2020
The president did not provide additional details after his tweet, and the White House, Energy Department and Treasury Department did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for additional information.
Oil prices settled at negative $37.63 on Monday and opened at negative $14 on Tuesday.
At a press conference on Monday following the price drop, the president did not suggest funding the industries directly, but instead doubled down on his desire to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
His administration has said it would rent space in the reserve to producers — something they’d be paid for in oil — after Congress declined to provide funding for the government to purchase oil in a coronavirus stimulus package.
Even before Monday’s developments, the industry had been facing a downturn amid a drop in demand due to the coronavirus and a production standoff between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Both of those countries, as well as the U.S. and others, have since said they would cut their oil production.
It was also reported last week that the Trump administration was considering paying companies to leave oil and gas in the ground.
Some lawmakers have also pushed for oil and gas companies to be eligible for federal loans included in a past stimulus package.
“There is no question that one of the hardest hit industries — and one of the most critical to Alaska — is the oil and gas sector,” Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Energy: EPA weakens power plant pollution rule | DOJ lets companies skip paying penalties during pandemic | Trump eyes plan to pay companies to keep crude in the ground Trump administration eyes paying oil companies to keep crude in the ground: reports Overnight Energy: Democrats say stimulus should not bail out fossil fuel industry | Court rules for scientists barred from EPA boards | New setback for Keystone XL pipeline MORE (R-Alaska) wrote in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinPelosi: Negotiators ‘down to the fine print’ on coronavirus relief package Treasury Department releases .9 billion in payroll support for airlines Lawmakers struggle to reach deal on new COVID relief package MORE earlier this month.
This report was updated at 10:40 a.m.