CEOs from the U.S. energy sector met on Friday with President Trump, Secretaries Bernhardt and Brouillette, and key legislators to discuss a plan moving forward amid the coronavirus pandemic, new challenges faced, and the ongoing collapse in oil prices. The meeting included leaders from Exxon, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, Devon Energy, Phillips 66, Energy Transfer, and Continental Resources.
President Trump kicked off the meeting by reiterating his fervent support for the energy industry:
I just want to start by saying it’s an honor to be with you. I know most of you, one way or the other. Some of you I know, and — but I know all of you by seeing you on the covers of all the business magazines and the magazines. And you’ve done a great job, and we’ll work this out and we’ll get our energy business back. I’m with you 1,000 percent. It’s a great business. It’s a very vital business. And, honestly, you’ve been very fair. You’ve kept energy prices reasonable for a long period of time. We’ve got a long period of time with very reasonable energy prices.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy emphasized his support of the President’s efforts to strengthen the energy market:
Well, first, I want to thank you for doing this. Just by you reaching out to President Putin and the Crown Prince, things have improved. You’re looking around at a lot of jobs, but what else you’re not seeing at this table: A lot of these are small businesses that work with all these individuals around here. And your action today, with signing the CARES Act, getting the small-business loans out, is going very strongly — because it’s needed.”
But the American economy — the greatest strength is our — what energy provides us. You provide us at a good price. These are great jobs. But more importantly, it also gives us energy independence. It changes the whole dynamics around the world.
North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer was also in attendance and expressed his support for efforts to grow the industry and stabilize prices during the pandemic, pointing to significant cuts in his own state:
Mr. President, to echo everything and maybe add a little bit: The people around your Cabinet table right now are part of the renaissance of oil and gas in this country. But since you became President, we went from a renaissance to security, to independence, to dominance. And that dominance and that security are — right now are in some danger.
Just a quick example: In North Dakota, since Saudi Arabia and Russia announced their little price war, we’ve had $6 billion of cutbacks taken out of our state, planned for this year.
U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette also assured the major industry players and stakeholders that the DOE was committed to coming out of this stronger than ever before:
We are moving very aggressively. We’re using every tool that we have at the U.S. Department of Energy, not only to provide immediate relief for this particular industry and the economy itself, but also to look for technologies that over time will reduce the cost structure for the entire industry.
The CEOs in attendance also showcased their support for the President’s leadership and efforts to bolster American energy production and the industry. Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer, noted that they were the only pipeline company in the room, but that they strive to do business with all the companies present to safely and efficient transport product to consumers across the United States.
Now more than ever before, it is essential that policymakers and regulators welcome further investment in energy infrastructure and investment. By bolstering domestic energy production – we can reduce our reliance on foreign energy sources while furthering American energy independence.