On Saturday, Donald Trump said that he "does not care about OPEC" and that he will put tariffs on oil imports to the United States if he has to in order to protect the oil industry at home.

US President Donald Trump has stated he does not rule out that if necessary, the US may reduce oil production after a potential move by OPEC+ to likewise cut rates.

“I think it’s happening automatically but nobody’s asked me that question yet so we’ll see what happens”, Trump told a White House press briefing on Monday.

The statement comes a few days after he said that he “doesn’t care about OPEC [the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries]” and that if he has to “level tariffs on all imported oil coming into” the US, he will do so.

“I will do whatever it takes to protect US oil jobs”, Trump told reporters on Saturday.

He added that he was confident in the US energy business, touting his country as “the number one producer in the world right now”.

“[…] I am a big believer in our great energy business, and we are going to take care of our energy business, and if I have to do tariffs on oil coming from the outside or if I have to do something to protect our thousands or tens of thousands of energy workers and our great companies that produce all these jobs I'll do whatever I have to do”, he pointed out.

This followed Trump tweeting last Thursday that he expects Saudi Arabia and Russia to agree to cut oil output by between 10 million and 15 million barrels per day during an OPEC+ meeting scheduled for 9 April.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his part, stated last week that oil production could be reduced by approximately 10 million barrels per day, adding that Moscow seeks long-term stability in the oil market and will continue to work with its Saudi Arabian partners.

On 6 March, OPEC+ countries were unable to agree on an extension of a deal to limit oil production. Restrictions were lifted as the deal expired in late March, which led to a collapse in the market, in conjunction with a global drop in demand due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Russia called for leaving output cuts at previously agreed upon levels, while Saudi Arabia and its allies suggested that additional cuts be made, in a move that was followed by the Saudi Energy Ministry’s decision to increase the Kingdom’s daily production capacity to 13 million barrels of oil from the current 12 million barrel level.