A “less-than-honest-or-informed” Donald Trump tweet last weekend “showed who really has the whip hand” in the former reality TV star’s continuing ramble about U.S. energy “dominance”, according to Bloomberg News analyst Liam Denning.
“Trump’s Saturday morning tweet announcing Saudi Arabia would be raising oil output by two million barrels a day surprised everyone, not least Saudi Arabia’s leadership and the president’s own staff,” he writes. “The subsequent walk-back was a hurried, stumbling affair. And the damage was done anyway.
“Because, really, nothing says ‘energy dominance’ quite like pretending on social media that an ally will boost their oil production in order to head off the domestic costs of one’s own foreign policy.”
With U.S. Congressional elections coming up fast [just 124 sleeps to go—Ed.], Trump’s White House “finds itself in a quandary of its own making,” Denning explains. “Having effectively torn up the nuclear deal with Iran and apparently gunning to reduce that country’s oil exports to zero, Trump has teed up a jump in U.S. pump prices timed exquisitely for November’s mid-terms.”
The tweet was supposed to point toward a solution. Instead, Trump’s “awkward attempt to display dominance” showed he has no control at all.
“Far from being dominant, the U.S. isn’t even energy independent, especially when it comes to oil,” Denning writes. “Exports have shot up, fuelled by the shale boom. But the country still imports more than 2.5 million barrels a day of crude oil and refined products on a net basis. Taking crude oil alone, it’s a net 6.5 million barrels a day. The East and West Coasts depend on shipments of foreign oil to offset the logistical hurdles of getting oil from the Midwest. Meanwhile, certain grades of oil, especially heavier ones craved by Gulf Coast refineries, must be imported. (Ironically, North America as a whole is much closer to being energy independent—but maybe we shouldn’t mention that.)”