By Christopher M. Matthews and Timothy Puko 

President Trump is set to meet Friday with the heads of some of the largest U.S. oil companies to discuss government measures to help the industry weather an unprecedented oil crash, people familiar with the matter said.

The meeting is to take place at the White House and will include Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Darren Woods, Chevron Corp. Chief Executive Mike Wirth, Occidental Petroleum Corp. Chief Executive Vicki Hollub and Harold Hamm, executive chairman of Continental Resources Inc., the people said.

The U.S. oil and gas industry has been pummeled recently by the dual shock of plummeting oil demand because of the coronavirus pandemic and surging supply as Russia and Saudi Arabia are locked in a price war and flood the market with crude.

Oil prices plunged this week to just above $20 a barrel, the lowest level in nearly two decades.

Mr. Trump and the executives are set to discuss potential aid to the industry, including tariffs on oil imports into the U.S. from Saudi Arabia, and a waiver of a law that requires American vessels be used to transport goods, including oil, between U.S. ports, according to two of the people.

But the oil industry isn't unified in its support for some of the measures, the people familiar with the matter said. Only Mr. Hamm supports oil tariffs, according to the people. A temporary waiver of the Jones Act, which would allow U.S. ships to transport oil around the country, could represent a compromise and earn the backing of the other companies, one of the people said.

Such a waiver would allow U.S. oil to be shipped from the petrochemical hub on the Gulf Coast to markets on the East Coast and Washington state, which are currently being flooded with imports from Saudi Arabia. The U.S. has previously granted such waivers, typically for about 10 days, during other emergencies.


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 01, 2020 14:05 ET (18:05 GMT)

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