President Donald Trump said on Monday he plans to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin and that Saudi Arabia and Russia "both went crazy" in their oil-price war, a battle begun just as the spread of the coronavirus around the world drove down demand for oil.
"I never thought I'd be saying that maybe we have to have an oil (price) increase, because we do," Trump said in an interview with Fox News Channel. "The price is so low now they're fighting like crazy over, over distribution and over how many barrels to let go."
Russia and Saudi Arabia are flooding the oil market. The result - collapsing prices - threatens the highly leveraged US shale industry, which has increased its market share in recent years by taking on debt.
"We don't want to have a dead industry that's wiped out," Trump said in the interview. "It's bad for them, bad for everybody. This is a fight between Saudi Arabia and Russia having to do with how many barrels to let out. And they both went crazy, they both went crazy."
The price collapse has also made it almost impossible for OPEC producers such as Nigeria, Angola, Algeria and Venezuela to compete. The pain from that lost revenue is especially severe for countries struggling to confront the coronavirus pandemic.
He said that on the call he and Putin would also discuss trade, Russia's "big problem" with the deadly coronavirus, and sanctions the United States has imposed on Russia.