Thank you for that introduction.
Today, we face an extremely dire situation on the global energy stage – one that requires our immediate attention and focus.
As we all know, the impact of COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on world economies. In particular, the impact on world energy markets has been dramatic, triggering an enormous decline in crude oil demand.
And we also know that the situation has been greatly exacerbated by a surge in output from key oil producing nations following the collapse of OPEC+ negotiations on March 6.
The result of this lethal combination is an incredibly destructive decline in the oil markets.
It is fair to say that each nation represented here today has been substantially affected by this crisis.
Speaking for my own country, the United States has seen its oil industry gravely impacted.
We estimate that by the end of this year, U.S. production will see a reduction of nearly 2 million barrels per day. Some models show even more dramatic figures, for example, up to 3 million barrels per day.
Make no mistake:
Today’s crisis transcends the interests of any one nation and requires a swift and decisive response from us all. Failure to act has far reaching consequences to each of our economies.
Now of course, addressing today’s crisis has to mean addressing the demand shock by stabilizing our public health situation.
We must contain and defeat the Coronavirus.
Achieving this objective is paramount for humanity and requisite for unleashing the global economic growth needed to raise energy demand.
But, while stopping the virus is a necessary condition for this recovery, it is clearly an insufficient one.
For full recovery to occur, we must stabilize world energy markets by putting an end to this dangerous price decline.
As we all know, several countries were discussing an agreement to cut 10 MB/D out of the market, but the agreement never materialized. This is extremely disappointing.
This is a time for all nations to seriously examine what each can do to correct the supply/demand imbalance.
We call on all nations to use every means at their disposal to help reduce the surplus.
And indeed, the President and other Administration officials have been in conversations with the appropriate nations to help make this happen.
For our part, the United States is taking action to open our Strategic Petroleum Reserve to store as much oil as possible. This will take surplus oil off the market at a time when commercial storage is filling up and the market is oversupplied.
And we will look for more opportunities to ease the hurt felt by our producers.
But it is in our collective interest that the industry returns to a position of strength to ensure that energy again leads economic growth and enhances our national security.
Our ultimate objectives are clear.
We want to restore price stability, advance free and open markets, and return our world to prosperity and opportunity, preserving both the lives and the livelihoods of our fellow human beings everywhere.
I urge that we approach this crisis with the seriousness it deserves, for their sake and for the sake of generations to come.