How President Trump Is Undermining U.S. Oil Producers

President Trump recently took credit for the plunge in oil prices since early October. As I noted in a recent article, it’s true that the President’s actions have contributed to the drop in oil prices, but at a cost that has been largely ignored.

This week the President decided to share the credit for lower oil prices on Twitter:

President Trump thanks Saudi Arabia for low oil prices.

How President Trump Affected Oil Prices

Let’s review.

The trade war with China resulted in China halting imports of U.S. oil. Prior to that, U.S. oil producers had been shipping half a million barrels a day to China. This loss of market hurt U.S. oil producers and helped push inventories higher in the U.S. This further hurt U.S. oil producers by pushing prices down.

Second, leading up to the implementation of sanctions on Iran that would cut off their oil exports, President Trump persuaded Saudi Arabia to begin pumping more oil to compensate for Iran’s pending lost exports.

Then, just before sanctions were set to go into effect, President Trump announced that waivers would be given to a number of countries to allow them to continue to import Iranian oil. Among those countries was China, which means U.S. oil producers lost business to Iran as a result of this decision.

The Fallout

Saudi Arabia was caught off guard by the decision to grant waivers, which resulted in too much oil in the market. The price of oil predictably plunged, but Saudi Arabia has vowed to cut production. They are also working with other countries to engineer an even bigger production cut.

The President is now attempting to pacify Saudi Arabia by giving the country a pass on the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October, and by publicly thanking them on Twitter. But that will be unlikely to compensate for billions in lost revenue over what Saudi Arabia undoubtedly considers to be a double cross.

So the cost of lower oil prices has been the loss of a growing market for U.S. oil producers, a weakening of the sanctions against Iran, and an increase in mistrust from Saudi Arabia.

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Gary Anderson 7 months ago Contributor's comment

Great article. Truth is, #Trump does live in the past. He wants three models of cars on the road, #Ford, #GM, and #Dodge. He wants the world weakened while the USA is strong, like after ww2. He wants cheap oil prices to spur Americans to buy holiday gifts, like before #OPEC. He wants men to be superior to women. He toys with Fascism like it somehow worked when it didn't. He wants China and Europe to submit like in the old days. Many older people live in the past, in their glory days. But it isn't healthy, mentally, nor is it good for the nation.