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Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

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Trump Could Still Slap Tariffs On Foreign Oil

Despite the unprecedented global oil production cut agreement from last week, the United States may still impose tariffs on oil imports, Bloomberg reports, citing a Washington official.

“It continues to be something that’s on the table,” Francis Fannon, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, told Bloomberg. “It’s certainly something the president had weighed but he consistently said it was a lever he didn’t think he would need to pull.”

Earlier this month, President Trump threatened tariffs on imported oil to speed up an agreement on output cuts between Saudi Arabia and Russia, saying that the U.S. won’t be joining deliberate cuts. Instead, the United States would see its production decline naturally because of low oil prices. Indeed, production is already in decline as companies idle wells. 

The U.S. also took on itself the bigger portion of Mexico’s cut quota, as it refused to cut more than 100,000 bpd as part of the OPEC+ agreement.

Even with this agreement and the cuts, the global oil supply overhang is still growing, and it will be a while before it disappears.

“There’s going to be a latency in terms of the supply buildup and how that works its way out. What we’re talking about is huge stores of a physical commodity that have amassed over time,” Fannon said.

The storage problem is shaping up as the next big challenge for global oil. The IEA became the latest in a string of sources warning that the storage tanks are filling up, and the cuts in production may be coming too late.

In response, the U.S. began talks with nine oil companies that could result in the leasing of storage capacity of some 23 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

One private company, Well Water Solutions and Rentals, is also offering to help with 5 million barrels of storage space, according to its president Sean Lovelace, but it is facing regulatory hurdles.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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Leave a comment
  • Jasen Lucas on April 16 2020 said:
    This is our only hope for American Oil and Gas services companies that are not named Haliburton or have an unlimited supply of private equity or bank money. If Trump wants to save hundreds of thousands of jobs he needs to do exactly what he did for American Steel companies. You cannot let foreign oil dump cheap oil into the American market and expect to save American jobs and keep American money in America.
  • Phil Mirzoev on April 16 2020 said:
    "Trump Could Still Slap Tariffs On Foreign Oil" Well he could.. Good luck with that.
    I can imagine how many business - huge oligopolies with much more lobbying power than the shale oil sector will come next day to Trump's door to demand to put some protective measures for their produce or give them taxpayer's money directly (cos this tariff, as probably everyone is aware, is basically on the American consumer of oil and oil products - bang in the middle of the economic crisis the depth of which critically depends on the resuscitation of that very consumer being in a deep coma right now).

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